How fast fashion contributes to a polluted environment and an ignorant society

Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

The fast fashion industry is as dominant as ever and here is why we need to stop contributing to it

The one Friday every year when many parts of the world erupt in chaos, is the most anticipated Friday for some and the most dreaded for others. On Black Friday people surge into department stores at the early hours of opening time and in some stores, the day might end with unwanted clothes littering the floors while shoppers play an intense game of tug of war over a pair of pants.  

The prevalence of fast fashion consumption becomes increasingly evident as this materialistic holiday rolls around and more and more people are encouraged to buy larger amounts from unethical brands that offer very appealing deals.  

Many stores follow the fast fashion model in efforts to increase demand by rapidly producing clothes that are always up to date with fashion trends. Hence the name, fast fashion.  

These clothes are also made of relatively cheap materials, though the labourers making them are underpaid. As a result, the cost of items from the participating companies is exceptionally low, making it even more appealing to consumers.  

And now, living in a world with inflation on the rise, students find themselves on a tight budget when it comes to our spendings. Buying from fast fashion companies becomes immensely difficult not to do today due to the cheap pricing.  

However, the fast fashion industry brings great harm to the environment as the production of clothes involves copious amounts of energy, toxic fabric dyes and carbon emissions.  

Clothes are a necessity, but sometimes the cheaper price of fast fashion can make individuals get carried away. 

It is difficult to balance a tight budget and buying clothes from sustainable companies as their items can be quite expensive. Unlike fast fashion that produces in bulk, sustainable companies rely on smaller production amounts to reduce waste. Thus, making them more expensive. 

Naturally, many turn to fast fashion as it is more affordable. The problem with partaking in fast fashion consumption arises when consumers buy from these unethical companies in bulk. As they can fit many items into one bill that would fit three or four good quality pieces from sustainable companies that can also last you longer.  

In this manner, fast fashion fuels ignorance within our society. I believe buying from these companies for the sake of affordability is an individual’s right, but buying from the industry every month or so to keep up with the latest micro trends is ignorance at its finest.  

The items from your haul of new clothing allow the company to continue exploiting the men, women and many times, children who made those products.  

And though we may think we are not the issue; we most defiantly are. In a study done just this past year, 90 per cent of university students said they had recently purchased fast fashion clothing, with 17 per cent of those individuals doing so on a weekly basis.  

Moreover, despite individuals today owning more clothes than anyone before, the average person only wears 20 per cent of their clothes 80 per cent of the time. Now think about the weekly and monthly shops from fast fashion companies and just how wasteful all of it truly is. 

So this Black Friday, as you treat yourself to new clothes, consider spending your hard-earned paycheck on a few timeless pieces that are made ethically and whose quality will last you a lifetime. Or visit your local thrift store. Thrifting is such a great way to get unique and even quality pieces for such a low price, while the clothing is not going to waste and while no new clothing needs to be made. 

If we collectively avoid fast fashion to the best of our abilities, we can not only make our environment a cleaner one but we’ll also improve our quality of life overall by moving towards being a less ignorant and more mindful society.  


  • Fatima Sarfaz

    Fatima is in her second year doing Engineering. This is her first year writing for The Silhouette and she has joined as an Opinions staff writer. When she's not studying or writing, Fatima can be found reading, watching Netflix or going out to try new food places.

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