The Challenge of Sustainable Fashion

The Challenge of Sustainable Fashion

Rosie Garcia 


What is Fast Fashion? 

Fast Fashion can be identified as cheap and trendy clothing that samples ideas from celebrities and turns clothing into high street stores at a rapid pace.Its purpose is to get the newest styles on the market as fast as possible. It has become a part of the toxic system of overproduction and consumption that has made the fashion industry one of the world’s largest polluters. 


The Problem

Fast Fashion has become more popular than ever before and with the high rates of online shopping, it’s only increased more.With every piece of clothing bought the fashion industry strips the Earth of its limited natural resources and the ethics of labor conditions. For example, there is a huge amount of waste being added to our planet that causes damage to ecosystems and the health of biodiversity. Studies have shown that the fashion industry produces 150 billion garments a year with 87% (40 million tons) ending up in a landfill. These garments smolder and pollute the air, creating a damaged environment. Clothing is also manufactured with highly toxic chemicals, dyes and heavy metals that are flushed into bodies of water. This flushing causes the clean water streams, rivers, and aquifers to sicken people and animals who consume it. Child labor has also become a huge challenge with sustainable fashion. The cheap prices fast fashion provides is extracted from the industry’s factory garment workers. Most workers are paid less than minimum wage and about 40 million of these workers are living in “modern slavery.” Additionally, because they work with toxic chemicals for extremely heavy and long hours, they may experience devastating impacts on their physical and mental health. In the end, this increases the abuse and mistreatment of workers and children working in these facilities. Fast Fashion impacts animals in negative ways. Animal products such as wool, fur, and leather are used in fashion directly and put animal welfare at risk. There is also a huge amount of real fur being produced under terrible conditions in fur farms and factories.  


Brands to Be Aware of 

Some brands and retailers that are very popular in the United States take part in the fast fashion industry. These stores include  Zara, H&M, GAP, Primark, and TopShop. As well as SHEIN, Missguided, Forever 21, Zaful, Boohoo, and Fashion Nova. It is important to educate ourselves on the manufacturing of clothing and avoid these brands at all costs. 


The Next Step

In order to help our environment and manage the challenge within sustainable fashion here is list of things we can do: 

  • Educate ourselves about fast fashion and sustainable clothing 
  • Buy Less, Shop Less, and choose quality over quantity
  • Shop for materials such as organic cotton or linen 
  • Purchase 100% Recycled Fabrics 
  • Research brands to identify which ones use fast fashion practices 
  • Thrift and buy second hand clothing 
  • Learn how to reuse clothing and create new styles with them
  • Choose brands that are manufactured within the community