A long time ago, clothes were made to last for years. Before fast fashion brands, people used to buy garments a few times a year to replace old clothes or wear something new on special occasions.

Nowadays, clothes are cheaper and people can afford to buy trendy clothes at least once per month. 

And that’s how we started to hear the term: Fast Fashion. With this new trend, people tend to buy clothes they wear a handful of times or, what’s worse, they never use them!

Do you think this is a sustainable practice? Let’s find out.

If you’d like to learn what fast fashion is and why it is bad, keep reading to discover how it impacts people, the planet, and animals. But more importantly, you’ll learn how to spot fast fashion brands!

What Is Fast Fashion And Why Is It Bad?


Fast fashion is the term used to describe the mass production of cheap, trendy, and poor-quality clothes.

This unsustainable business model focuses on reworking the latest styles from the catwalk and what some celebrities or social media influencers use.

As a result, people can quickly wear the “newest trends”.

Here’s how the fast fashion cycle works:

  • Fast Changes in Fashion Trends: Fashion brands are constantly producing new lines of clothes to offer the “latest trends”, which they often create to keep people endlessly buying their clothes.
  • Fast Production: They produce these clothes as quickly as possible.
  • Fast Sale: Since consumers can wear the latest looks without spending a fortune, they don’t think twice before buying these clothes.
  • Fast Use: These clothes wear out fast and go out of style in a few months. So, it should come as no surprise that people get rid of them as soon as they become “outdated looks”.

Environmental Impact of Fast Fashion
Fast fashion brands tend to use synthetic fibres, like nylon and polyester

What’s the Environmental Impact of Fast Fashion?


Fast fashion focuses on reducing production costs as much as possible. And destroying nature is more profitable than protecting it.

That’s why they’ve become one of the highest polluting industries in the world! And this practice is contributing to the climate change

Let’s explore why fast fashion is bad for the environment:

Water Pollution and Consumption

This industry alone uses 93 billion cubic metres of water every year!

Besides using large quantities of water and pesticides, they also dump untreated toxic wastewater into rivers. Industrial water pollution can exterminate aquatic life and affect communities that rely on these water sources.

Global Warming

Fast fashion has a huge carbon footprint. 

First of all, most of their clothes are made of synthetic fabrics, which are derived from fossil fuels.

Likewise, most of their factories rely on non-renewable energy sources. And let’s not forget that these clothes are shipped around the world.

Fibres are so small, they can end up polluting our oceans

Plastic Pollution

As we mentioned before, fast fashion brands tend to use synthetic fibres, like nylon and polyester, to keep their prices low.

When we wash these clothes, they release tiny plastic particles known as microfibres. To give you an idea, around 700,000 fibres can come off these clothes in a typical wash!

But that’s not all. Since these fibres are so small, they can pass through the wastewater treatment systems and end up polluting our oceans.

Not only will they harm marine animals, but they will also become part of our diet!

Waste 

Another problem with fast fashion is the inconceivable amount of waste it creates: around 92 million tonnes of textiles waste each year!

As clothes became cheaper, consumers now see them as disposable. So, people don’t keep them in their wardrobes for too long. And even if they wanted to, these poor-quality clothes are not made to last.

For that reason, they’re rarely suitable for resale and end up sitting in landfills.

But consumers are not the only ones generating textile waste. Some brands also discard clothes that are no longer “modern” instead of selling them!

Why Is Fast Fashion Bad for Workers?


Fast fashion brands also reduce their production costs by exploiting garment workers and farmers. 

Their garment workers work in dangerous conditions for low wages. They are often forced to meet daily targets that are almost impossible to reach.

On top of that, some garment factories have been accused of human rights violations!

How Does Fast Fashion Affect Animals? 


Unfortunately, even animals are affected by the fast fashion industry.

The production of wood-based fibres causes mass deforestation, which destroys the habitat of hundreds of species. And when fast fashion factories release untreated wastewater into rivers, they also kill aquatic animals.

Additionally, they use some animal products, like wool, leather, silk, and fur. Now that you know how they treat their workers, it’s hard to imagine what these animals must go through. 

Fast Fashion is bad for the environment

Which Are The Leading Fast Fashion Brands? 


Currently, many brands follow the unsustainable, fast fashion business model. If you don’t want to support the unethical practices of this industry, it’s important to learn which brands are part of this problem and avoid them.  

Check out some of the most popular fast fashion brands around the world below:

Fast Fashion Brands

  • Primark
  • Missguided
  • Forever 21
  • Boohoo
  • Shein
  • Zara
  • H&M
  • Quiz

Their clothes are extremely cheap or made with low-quality fabrics.

How to Spot a Fast Fashion Brand?


Would you like to stay away from fast fashion brands? Then, you should learn how to recognise them so that you can avoid them. The good news is that these brands have some things in common, so it’s easy to spot them:

They offer thousands of new items every day: Do they always have something new to offer? If that’s the case, they’re a fast fashion brand. 

Their clothes are extremely cheap: If their prices are too good to be true, then they’re not paying a living wage to their workers.

Their clothes are made of low-quality materials: If most of their clothes are made of low-quality fabrics, like polyester, nylon, acrylic and elastane, they are not even trying to offer durable options. 

Ethical & Sustainable Brands We Recommend

Conclusion

Learning all the environmental impacts and human rights abuses of the fast fashion industry is definitely an eye-opener. You get to discover the true cost of these “cheap” clothes. As consumers, we need to push for a change. 

Instead of choosing brands that don’t care about people or the environment, opt for sustainable and ethical brands!