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  • Writer's pictureAmy Carter


The Environment and Economy are paying the price for ‘Fast Fashion’

‘I have nothing to wear’ is a phrase that comes out of my mouth every time I have any sort of event coming up.

So what do i do?

I spend hours scrolling through clothing websites like Pretty Little Thing, Misguided and Boohoo until I find a nice, but cheap outfit.

Wear it once and then throw it away – sound familiar?

This is a process which people go through every time they have an event or social gathering however, do you realise the alarming effect fast fashion has on the environment and economy?

The pressure that large clothing industries are under to speed up production time and reduce costs, means that environmental corners are more likely to be cut.

The negative impact that fast fashion has on the environment stems from it’s use of cheap, toxic textile dyes.

Resulting in the fashion industry being found to be the second largest polluter of clean water globally.

The most popular fabric used by most fashion brands is Polyester.

This fabric is derived from fossil fuels, contributing to global warming, and can shed microfibers that add to the already increasing levels of plastic in our oceans.

In February 2019, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee released a damning report on the fashion industry- “Fixing Fashion: Clothing Consumption and Sustainability”

The report looked at the social and environmental costs of the fashion industry, especially fast fashion. They made a number of recommendations to the government, all in which got rejected.

I spoke to Lynne Hugill, the Fashion Course Leader at Teesside University

She said: “My opinion on fast fashion is that fashion brands are having to be more responsible and transparent due to customers becoming more aware of environmental issues that fashion has on the environment.”

“Environmental issues and sustainability are hot topics and although some brands could be accused of ‘Green Washing’, there are so many fashion brands and organisations who are developing more sustainable practices.

Green Washing is the practice of claiming green practices for marketing purposes.

Lynne said: “I believe that there has been a rise in fast fashion companies taking responsibility for their actions.”

“A business model called the ‘circular economy’ has been created which requires waste to be recycled back into the system.

“An example of this is the Adidas Future Loop trainers which are the first running shoe that is being made to be remade.

“In order to become more responsible and sustainable in a competitive market these companies need to educate their customers to recycle their clothing and also accept new ways of buying fashion.

“There are some interesting new business models which could address the customers need for new garments through clothing rentals and subscriptions models.

“The need for new clothes and the rise of social media and fast fashion could also be addressed by digital fashion, where garments are never made but the customer is able to buy an image of themselves wearing a new outfit.”

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