What is fast fashion and is it cause for concern?
In a country where a large portion of the population is employed in the textile sector, this might be a strange question to ask. But it’s worth asking. Are we making too many clothes, buying too many and throwing away too many?
According to a report by IndiaSpend, more than one million tons of textiles are thrown away every year in India. This report is one of many that have argued that fast fashion harms the environment by creating a false sense of demand for the next and latest fresh look, which is an ever-evolving notion. But what does the term “fast fashion” really mean? Let’s find out.
India is one of the major manufacturing hubs of fast fashion in the world and its own demand for fashion is also growing. In this context, it is important to understand the concerns attached to it.
But first, what exactly is fast fashion? The fashion industry had two seasons a year earlier. Manufacturers and designers used to roll out new collections for each season. But in 2000, some international brands launched about 52 micro-seasons per year. There were new launches almost every week, flooding the markets with increasingly stylish fabrics. It was called fast fashion.
According to the Corporate Finance Institute, the term fast fashion refers to rapidly produced and consumed fashion products that are manufactured to meet rapidly changing trends. It is partly a sales technique whose speed gives the organizations that use it a competitive advantage.
Fast fashion calls for clothes to move quickly from the fashion ramps into the hands of consumers in an effort to enjoy the latest trend. The average consumer walks away happy because fast fashion allows them to buy the trendy new look at an affordable price.
Not to mention that the rise of fast fashion reflects the success we’ve had in offering cheaper and faster manufacturing processes and shipping methods. It also reflects the increase in the purchasing power of consumers, especially young people.
And when the trend changes so fast and your wardrobe fills up fast, what happens to the clothes that are now considered old-fashioned? You end up throwing them away.
Fast fashion ends up leading to a massive increase in waste. Also keep in mind that these garments are transported across the world before they reach you. The result is an increase in carbon dioxide emissions.
The fashion industry produces around 53 million tons of fiber each year, 70% of which ends up in landfills. In India, more than one million tons of textiles are thrown away every year.
So what can you do as a consumer? Simple solutions are the answer. You can just buy less clothes. You can extend the life of your current clothes by not falling for the latest hot trend. In some countries, where the practice is widespread, you can shop second-hand. And, last but not least, you can recycle your old clothes.