Catwalk to Consumers


Addison Corell

A creator on Tik Tok, Goodfair, referenced fast fashion 5 times in their most recent 15 Tik Tok’s. 

   Tik Tok user, Madeleine White (@madeleinecwhite), made a video about fast fashion brands like Zara and Shein but states in her caption that she has bought from these brands before.

   Her caption demonstrates how people may be aware of the harms of fast fashion but they do not take the steps or action to stop buying from those companies. Maybe fast fashion isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be; maybe people are ignoring the harm so they can continue to buy their $10 jeans and $5 shirts without the guilt of knowing what goes on behind this industry.

   Fast Fashion took off in the 1990’s-2000’s when stores such as H&M and Zara opened. Fast fashion can be defined as cheap yet trendy clothing that moves fast from the catwalk to consumers. These clothes are often manufactured offshore and arrive quickly to consumers. 

   Fast fashion came to be due to trends changing faster. Before the 90’s there were four fashion cycles a year, one for each season. That’s why we see clothing collections come out in seasons, such as Vogue’s “Spring 2021 Collection.” Trends now change three times a month, pushing consumers to stay up to trend and buy more clothes. 

   Not everyone has the money to keep their closet updated with sustainable brands, for example a wool cardigan on the Patagonia website costs $139 whereas a similar one on Shein only costs $34.99.

   While the negatives are great, these stores still are able to keep a high number of consumers and with the prices so low one may question the quality of the products.

  Sr. Dani Perkins shops through Shein. “In my opinion the quality of Shein material is worth its price because everything is priced really low and yet the quality is still decent, not every item is the same but for the most part I would say it’s worth it,” said Perkins.

   Fast fashion is called fast because of how updated their stock is; they always have the trendiest clothes in stores or online and for a good price. If someone has grown up in a low income household and hasn’t always been able to afford the newest and latest trends, now they can.

   These stores are also very easy to find. Stores such as Urban Outfitters, Fashion Nova, H&M and Zara are a few of the brick and mortar fast fashion shops. Shein, Primark, and Romwe rule the online shopping world. These stores are not hard to find and seem great but after doing research on fast fashion one may realize that guilt also comes with the t-shirt they just bought.

   There are a plethora of negatives when it comes to the fast fashion industry. Unhealthy working environments and negative effects on the environment are just a few of them. 

   Sustain your Style is a website that discusses fast fashion and as they call it, “the monster in your closet.” They state that 77.16 pounds of textile waste is generated per person per year. Majority of those clothes go to landfills and take up space on our Earth and those clothes can take up to 200 years to decompose.

   Those who make these clothes also work under awful working conditions. Many factories have no ventilation for workers leading the workers to breath in harmful chemicals that could result in illness or death.

   Some workers have died right in the factories. In 2013 a factory in Bangladesh collapsed killing 1,134 workers. Now these workers aren’t just adults making a wage, some are children. Child labor is seen in South India where girls will work for money so they can have a dowry.

   These are working conditions that no one would have to work under, and it’s truly a shame that careless buying hurts others in the process.

   One person who stops shopping fast fashion might not save the world, but they could bring awareness to others and there are many alternatives to fast fashion. 

   First off, thrifting is a great way to get clothes for cheap that are in a fairly good condition. Sharing clothes with friends and donating clothes or reselling is another way to avoid waste. If you do buy from stores that are fast fashion consider buying basic pieces that you’ll wear for a long time. Buy the white tank top or jeans over the hot pink fur jacket.

   There are also many shops that are ethical. Stores such as Patagonia, Levi’s, Reformation, and House of Sunny are trendy and ethical stores. 

   When it comes to shopping, be conscientious and know where your morals stand. Understanding  the harms of fast fashion and the positives of the alternatives can help relieve and guilt one may have from shopping.