We all know what fast fashion is, we all know at least one fast fashion brand, but do we all know how bad fast fashion is for the environment and legal? While at the moment fast fashion trends are cute and cheap but they are not helping the earth or your bank account.
Fast fashion is a concept created by brands like Forever 21 and H&M. These brands focus on getting clothing items out as soon as they can because of a current trend, while this is a great strategy to get products out fast and make money, these clothing items are not being made in the best environments, are good for the earth or safe/fair for the workers who have to make these cheap clothing items.
It is reported that, “Fast fashion, born out of rapid consumerism, has been cited as the second dirtiest industry in the world, next to big oil.” Can you imagine fashion being as dirty and unorganized as big oil? That does not make sense and should not be that way. But thats not all, “…the fashion industry is responsible for about five percent of all greenhouse gas emissions…it exceeds the emission rates of international flights, maritime shipping and the entire country of Russia.” I am sure you are wondering how this is possible, well imagine you are at one of many fast fashion companies like Forever 21, H&M, Zara or Uniqlo. You are walking through the isles trying to find the latest trend for cheap because paying $45 for a tube top at Urban Outfitters is not worth it (the prices are crazy I get it). You find what you are looking for, buy it for the cheap price it is at, then wear it for a few weeks until it is in the back of your closet then you eventually throw it away. No harm now fowl right? Well research shows that, “… pumping out cheap, new styles every week, the clothes considered out-of-trend go to landfills or incinerators where they create methane, carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses.” These gases and chemicals leak into the earth which destroys it, I am sure you do not want to be apart of that, right?
Besides the environment, these fast fashion companies have reportedly treated their employees incorrectly by overworking them, not paying them and putting them in unstable conditions. For Forever 21, “One factory worker in Los Angeles says she was paid 12 cents a piece to sew vests that sell for $13.80.” This is way under minimum wage and is not only illegal, but wrong. Not only did this happen to one factory and one person, but it also happened to 93% of Forever 21’s factories. “In 2012, the company was sued by the United States Department of Labor for ignoring a subpoena requesting information in regards to how much its suppliers pay East Asia and Latin American immigrant workers. The agency conducted 1,500 investigations; 93 percent of these factories were in violation.” The assumption that children and other people are not being payed enough for work they should be getting payed a well amount for is sadly true and needs to change. Imagine picking up an article of clothing that is worth $12 but the person behind making it only earned $0.12. it is sad and wrong.
And lastly, many of these fast fashion companies have been sued or suspected of stealing other ideas from either small companies who have original ideas and need the money to grow their business or from large companies just because they want to. Forever 21 for example, “has faced more than 50 copyright lawsuits for stealing the work of designers. These designers include Gwen Stefani, Anna Sui, and Trovata.” But do not worry, all of the money you give them for your business and all fo the money they illegally keep from their employees allow them to pay these fines and protect themselves from being sued out of business.
So are you going to do anything about this horrible chain?