Fast Fashion: Where Fast Isn’t Better

There are over seven billion people in the world today. With great amounts of bodies and many different styles, the variety of clothing is substantial to keep up with demand. With this,  overconsumption and fast fashion has created  issues regarding child labor, the environment and teenage mental health. However, buying fewer clothes as a consumer, donating clothes to people in need, or going to local swap meets are just a few ways to help slow overconsumption.

What is fast fashion? Fast fashion is when clothing is made to keep up with trends, only to quickly move on from everyone’s closets to never be worn again or thrown into landfills. Because social media has such an influence in fashion today,certain stores are boasted to be such great, cheap places to buy trendy clothes. This causes an overconsumption of these products that leads to negative affects on the environment. Furthermore, 10 percent of the earth’s carbon emissions are caused by factories that work for the clothing industry. It’s not fair for the world around us to die due to our longings to fit in with quick trends. 

Many brands such as H&M, Forever 21, GAP, Shein, and Urban Outfitters have been in many controversies, as they have been proven to use child and unsafe labor practices. A lot of these more known companies aren’t talked about on how they make small efforts to be more environmentally friendly like H&M. The company is just as bad as online stores like Shein and in some aspects it’s even worse. Many of these brands are selling clothes that are trending today and while it may be tempting to support them there are still ways to stop from buying items from these companies.

There are always going to be fashion trends that everyone wants to try. Lately, wearing mom jeans over skinny jeans is what’s in style at the moment, so is the “alt” style. But a few weeks before that, indie clothes were trending and everyone was wearing cow print and before that “skater girl/boy” outfits were what was in at that moment. This goes to show that consumers’ attention span for what is in style seems to switch faster than ever before.

Now what about mental health? Does fast fashion have any impact on mental health? Simple answer is, yes. Teens try so hard to wear what everyone else is and try to be like everyone else  in order to not be made fun of or to just fit into the social norms of today, but when some can’t afford a brand new pair of jeans, they can experience bullying. Through personal experience, growing up, if someone shopped at Goodwill, they would be bashed so hard because they weren’t “cool enough.” Internally, that can and has made people feel insecure about how they dress. In forms, many students have experienced being picked on because of clothes they were wearing. But now, it is considered trendy, but it actually helps that people shop from there. 

However,  it is not fair for someone to have to experience such negative and cruel feedback when they are unable to afford or they in general don’t want to fit in. 

When someone doesn’t want a clothing item anymore, instead of throwing it away to where it will sit for over 200 years to decompose, they should donate the items to thrift stores or other related organizations. The American Red Cross is one of the many national organizations that are helping people regain normalcy after natural disasters. There are even ways to help globally such as donating to Planet Aid. Their goal is to collect donated clothes and shoes and give them to the people in developing countries. 

Overall, fast fashion is such a toxic persona for the world due to the negative impacts on the environment from the waste created, the irrational use of child labor, and the mental impacts of having to be shaped into what is to be considered “normal.” These all could be avoided by having the capability to acknowledge differences and speak out about this cause, donating clothing to local homeless shelters, or shopping at thrift stores or local swap meets. Keeping away from what is helping destroy the planet is not only beneficial to one person, it’s beneficial to all.