Thursday, 18 August, 2022

Is fast fashion a good idea?

Fast fashion has been fuelling innumerable lot of money making machines for now branding itself as the perfect fit for the ever-changing taste of millennials and gen Z. At this momentum it is tempting for one to question what value, beneath the surface, does it have to offer and what does it mean for us?

The rapid growth of fast fashion has been instrumental in bringing uncountable number of hazards for the environment and the economy. With the urge of profit maximisation, the prominent brands are promoting the concept of fast fashion. It acts as a barrier to move forward more ethically and sustainably regarding both environment and workforce.

Let’s recall April 24th, which marks the date of the horrific Rana Plaza collapse, where 1,134 people died, and over 2,500 were injured. This devastating incident is the deadliest garment factory accident until the present. All for the sake of profit and fashion.

The growing demand for ‘fast fashion’ is in rapid increase as most of the local garments are made with very cheap labour and are getting sold at relatively high prices. It is strange to come across the fact that people who are working extremely hard to bring the shattered pieces into a beautiful cloth are not even paid accordingly for their effort. Thus, people who have their hands behind the final product are getting deprived of the actual reward that they should get.

The aftermath:

‘Fast fashion is like fast food. After the sugar rush it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth.’ --- Livia Firth

Mass-production of cheap, disposable clothing, countless new collections per year make us feel constantly out dated time and again and encourage us to keep buying more. As consumers worldwide buy more clothes, the growing market for new styles and cheap items are taking a toll on the environment. Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity's carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. What's more, 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year. And washing some types of clothes sends thousands of bits of plastic into the ocean.

In most of the countries in which garments are produced, untreated toxic wastewaters from textiles factories are dumped directly into rivers. Chemicals are used in every part of the textile production for making fibres, bleaching and dyeing fabrics etc. Our skin is our body's largest organ and absorbs anything we put on it, including chemicals in our clothes. These can present a real danger to our health.

Due to this, kids in many villages have been found with severe physical handicaps and mental retardation. The fertilizers and pesticide companies are utterly refusing this being a consequence of the use of their products.

Wastewater contains toxic substances such as lead, mercury and arsenic which are extremely harmful for the aquatic life and the health of millions of people living by those rivers banks. This eventually spreads around the globe. Another major source of water contamination is the use of fertilizers for cotton production, which heavily pollutes runoff waters and evaporation waters.

Are all these even worth it? Maybe we are economically developing but also causing a very big threat to our people and environment as for the sake of “a printed paper with numbers – money”.

Is there a solution to it?


Elora Majumder, a contributing writer