Fast Fashion: The Environmental and Social Impact

Fast Fashion, Slow Nature, Environmental and Social Impact, Damage caused by Fast Fashion

Today, we're talking about a very important topic: Fast Fashion. We will answer the most frequently asked questions, but if after reading the article you still have questions, please contact us, and we will be happy to answer your questions.

What is Fast Fashion?

You've probably already heard of it, but we'll explain what it is anyway. What is Fast Fashion?

It's fashion that flows much faster than you could ever imagine: an estimated production of over 80 million garments per year. What they call "high productivity" means that some large retail chains can produce almost 50 clothing collections in just 12 months.

This is far removed from the old fashion standards when we could admire the classic annual collections: spring/summer and autumn/winter. Clearly, these "old style" collections still exist at most fashion brands, especially at those who follow the Slow Fashion movement, but the big chains offering low cost products produce the most collections in a year.

Increasing the number of garments reduces production costs and consequently drastically reduces the selling price of the finished product. This triggers a simple, yet dangerous reaction. People are tempted to buy thanks to such low prices, but without evaluating the real "price" that is paid: the consumption of natural and energy resources, environmental pollution in all its forms and the exploitation of cheap labour.

The worst thing, is that this"scourge of the planet" depends exclusively on our compulsive buying. Are we victims of marketing or of ourselves?

We choose to buy dozens of clothes, dozens of shoes and dozens of bags. Most of these are used very few times before ending up lost in our closets. In the best case scenario it is deposited in the containers for clothing donations, given as a gift to friends or to those who need it more than us. Too often, however, these unused garments end up in the trash.

We waste energy, resources, and we pollute the environment to create a product. Then we throw it away and, before disappearing into thin air or being burned, this single-use product continues to pollute inside a landfill, especially when made from synthetic fabrics.

The question we should ask ourselves is not "what is Fast Fashion", but "what can we do to solve the problem?"

Damage caused by Fast Fashion

As we've already said the damage caused by Fast Fashion takes many forms: both social and environmental.

Environmental pollution is certainly the most obvious, as the media (at least lately) often talks about sustainable fashion, which is a different story to Fast Fashion. It is in fact proven by many scientific studies that the textile industry is the second most polluting sector in the world.

The environmental damage caused by Fast Fashion mainly affects :

  • Water pollution;
  • Air pollution;
  • Land use;
  • Over-consumption of natural resources;

While the damage to society caused by Fast Fashion mainly affects:

  • Exploitation of child labour;
  • Exploitation of cheap labour;
  • Lack of respect for workers' rights;
  • Unfair wages;
  • All types of discrimination;
  • Lack of safety precautions in the workplace;

All this affects our delicate ecosystem. What we call "damage" is not limited to a single production phase, but to the entire textile supply chain: from the wool to the yarn, from the yarn to the fabric, from the fabric to the dress. Passing through ginning, washing, preparation, spinning, twisting, weaving, knitting, treatment, dyeing, printing, finishing.

The textile supply chain is long and complex, requires a lot of manpower, and almost every process listed requires the use of toxic substances harmful to the environment and human health.

How to NOT buy Fast Fashion products

We've already explained to you what Fast Fashion is and the environmental and social damage caused by this "bad practice" in the textile sector. But how do you NOT buy Fast Fashion products? I mean, how can you identify eco-friendly products?

Surely the first solution is to look at the price of a product. If you see a €10 cotton t-shirt you can safely assume that we are talking about a low cost product, which has certainly been made without the slightest environmental or social consideration.

Basing your decision on price is a great way to guard against Fast Fashion, but unfortunately it is not the most effective.

We know many luxury fashion brands that sell high cost products with an equally dangerous environmental impact. Obviously, although their impact on the planet is just as heavy, the difference is in the numbers: a niche product is certainly sold less than a t-shirt from a large distribution chain.

Fewer products on the market (statistically) means less damage, both to the environment and to the workers involved.

The other solution to avoid buying products from Fast Fashion is definitely the most effective: buying sustainable fashion products, making your choices based on purchasing eco-friendly textiles, learning to read labels, looking for what we call certified textile labels.

Why sustainable fashion is important

We believe that the answer to this question can be found in every line of this article: sustainable fashion is important to safeguard the future of our planet.

In the last twenty years we have literally just consumed and Fast Fashion is largely responsible for the environmental and social damage caused in recent years. We are all growing more aware today, but not all of us are able to change our shopping habits.

Would you like to buy ethical and eco-friendly products? Slow Nature is the right place to come as we offer an exclusive ethical clothing selection on our website.


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