top of page

The True Cost of Fast Fashion

Examining the impacts of the fashion industry on the environment and what you can do to help

This image shows a young female protester holding this sign highlighting to choose the planet over profit. she may have been signaling this towards larger companies such as the ones involved in fast fashion to raise awareness.
Do we choose profit over the climate crisis?

The term "fast fashion" has gained popularity in discussions of fashion, sustainability and environmental awareness. In order to capitalise on current trends the phrase is used to describe cheaply created and priced items that replicate the latest trends and are pumped through stores quickly.

What has led to the emergence of fast fashion in the modern era?

More people are connected to one another than ever before thanks to globalisation, which has been largely fueled by the economy. The environment, culture, human health, and wellbeing have all suffered as a result of this process; despite the fact that it has given access to beneficial possibilities, relationships, and pathways. Globalisation has led to a rise in the fast fashion sector. Most of these factories that make clothing operate in developing nations and some of them are referred to as 'sweat shops'. These sweat factories' forced labour working conditions for employees are totally inappropriate in every way. Due to the ongoing rise in manufacturing needs necessitated by the degree of affordability the fashion sector is known to have one of the largest and most detrimental effects on the environment.

Impacts on the environment:

1. Water

Fast fashion has had an adverse effect on the environment due to the exhaustion of non-renewable resources; the release of greenhouse gases and the large consumption of water and energy. 700 gallons are needed to manufacture one cotton shirt and 2000 gallons are needed to produce a pair of jeans, The fashion industry is the second-largest consumer of water. This is due to the water left over after the dying process which is frequently poured into ditches, streams, or rivers. Textile dyeing is the second-largest cause of water pollution in the world.

2. Plastic and synthetic fiber waste

In an effort to save costs businesses make clothing from plastic strands. Synthetic fabrics reduce production costs and processing times while also polluting the environment with microplastics.

Micro-plastics break down in the wastewater as a result of consumers washing their fast fashion clothing in the washing machine. Synthetic fibers enter the atmosphere as the machine drains extra water. They enter marine habitats through runoff and have negative effects on organisms when consumed.

Aquatic animals may develop neurological problems as a result of microplastics, and when they go up the food chain, they may eventually affect people. The increased greenhouse impact is powered by the large amounts of energy needed to produce synthetic fibers.

3. Non-Renewable Energy

The majority of fast fashion businesses run their production facilities on fossil fuels. The energy sources burn, releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. When emissions enter the atmosphere, they change its makeup and the planet's capacity to keep its surface at temperatures that support life.

The earth naturally absorbs sunlight, produces heat, heats its surface, gathers more energy and releases it into space. Emissions alter the process because they exchange heat more quickly with the sun's radiation. Through this process of producing heat they also re-filter extra environmental energy.

As the temperature of the Earth rises over time as a result of greenhouse gas emissions ecological deterioration follows. Fast fashion has a big impact on climate change because it contributes almost 10% of world emissions.

Our planet will experience harsh droughts, agricultural limits, forced migration and other issues with ecological stability if the sector produces significant amounts of air pollutants. Fortunately, there are solutions for customers to lessen the negative effects.

I would recommend following these simple ways if you're interested in what to do to increase your consumer awareness of the issue of fast fashion.

How to reduce the impact of fast fashion

I would recommend following these simple ways if you're interested in increasing your consumer awareness of the issues of fast fashion. To narrow your carbon footprint, and maintain your style, there are many options available. I will list some of these below.

Encourage more sustainable and environment brands.

To begin with if you're going to keep buying clothing, at the very least support companies who are more environmentally conscious and contributing to the preservation of the planet. Clothing firms that aim to produce clothes with the least amount of waste and pollution feasible include zero waste brands.

Donate or up-cycle 

When it's time to get rid of something, consider giving it to a charity or a used clothing store rather than throwing it away. If it's still in good condition, you may even donate it to a friend.To prevent your used clothing from ending up in a landfill, consider reusing and up-cycling it. Used t-shirts can be used to create cleaning rags, for instance, or you can create a patchwork quilt out of other used materials.

Visit a thrift store

Shopping at secondhand stores when you need to buy something new is another excellent approach to consume fashion more mindfully. By buying products from the thrift store, you help prevent those items from eventually being thrown out and you lessen the need for manufacturers to produce as many new items to meet demand.

Improve the way you handle your clothes

Moreover, poorly maintained clothing items will force you to throw them out more quickly, adding to the landfill issue. So, to ensure that your purchases survive for years rather than just months, you should not only purchase higher quality things but also treat them better. You may extend the life of your clothing by learning to sew and repair damaged items, such as a split seam or a missing button. Also, it will spare you from having to pay additional money to replace it or have it tailored.

More eco-friendly materials should be used

Some textiles are better for the environment than others. Many low-cost materials, such rayon and polyester, which contain microplastics, are used in fast fashion. Choose things created from sustainable materials instead because they are more enduring, use fewer resources to produce them, and contain little to no micro-plastic. Hemp, linen, bamboo, organic cotton, silk, wool, and recycled synthetics are available options.


bottom of page