Fast Fashion Leaves Room for Furious Bystanders


Alex Caban/Wikimedia

H&M is one of many clothing stores accused by many of contributing to environmental harm through fast fashion.

Madison Stewart, Reporter

Fast fashion has taken over the fashion industry by storm. Whether it’s the mall or a popular online clothing website such as Shein, this mass production of cheap, stylish clothes is impacting people all around the globe — whether they want it to or not. 

Fast fashion has a devastating impact on the environment and labor issues. But if it’s so bad, why are they so popular? These cheaply made garments appeal to shoppers because they are strategically affordable and trendy. But because they aren’t built to last and they quickly go out of style, these clothes are quickly discarded, piling up in landfills. 

It’s not just Shein who’s guilty of this, though; common fast fashion brands include Zara, H&M, UNIQLO, Gap, Primark, Victoria’s Secret, Urban Outfitters, Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing, Missguided, Mango, TopShop, and many others.

In addition to environmental issues, fast fashion garments spark a lot of ethical concerns. They are often made in sweatshops where underpaid workers are employed for long hours in unsafe conditions and are exposed to harmful chemicals used in textile production.

“Shein harms the fashion industry,” Nonnewaug senior Megi Gorka said. “They sell trendy pieces for incredibly low prices even though there are designers who shed blood, sweat, and tears to create one piece. This is highly noticed throughout small businesses in the fashion industry.”

Gorka also thinks that there’s no hope for fast fashion ever becoming ethical, as the impacts on the environment are detrimental.

“I don’t think there’s a way for fast fashion to be ethical,” Gorka said. “Fast fashion is cheap, trendy clothes that are sampled from runways and celebrities. They have an awful impact on the environment because they account for a large amount of excess pollution and toxins when people get rid of them.”

Among the various issues regarding fast fashion, the multiple destructive effects on the environment remain a major concern. To manufacture clothes, the fast fashion industry exports its production business overseas for inexpensive labor to avoid the high minimum wages implemented by many developed governments.

“Fast fashion is really terrible,” says Christopher York, AP Environmental Science teacher at Nonnewaug. “Fashion is responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions and fast fashion is a significant part of that. Producing things fast means more chemicals, synthetic materials, and excess waste.”