‘Fast Fashion’ describes fashion created and sold at an accelerated pace, compared to traditional expectations and models of fashion consumption.

Essentially, when trend cycles speed up there is a need to increase the speed of clothing production. To keep this up, some brands make things cheap to reduce barriers to purchasing decisions. Then, to keep people purchasing you need to reduce the wear cycle (how many times a garment is worn) and then it’s a new trend to keep up with - so as a consumer you are back at the start of the cycle again.

The costs commonly associated with fast fashion cover both environmental factors and negative human impact. Fast fashion has more reliance on lower grade fabrics which have greater environmental impact both from overall carbon footprint & reliance on more plastics in the textiles. The erosion of workers’ rights essentially relates to cost pressures put on factories which reduces wages and/or workers conditions to meet the demands of the retailer.  

Fast fashion is constantly increasing its reach. According to Dana Thomas’ Fashionopolis, people on average consume 68 items per person per year – that is around 80 billion pieces of clothing globally purchased.

This is a growth trend which sees the average person in the UK buying 60% more clothing today than in 2000. This is mirrored in the US where it is estimated that shoppers buy five times more clothing than they did in 1980. www.ethicalconsumer.org

Sustainable fashion designer Stella McCartney is speaking out on the shocking waste of the fashion industry: ‘Did you know that the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is burned or landfilled every second? And right now, less than 1% of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing, meaning 99% of all textiles and fashion are waste…’ www.greenpeace.org

‘Fast Fashion’ creates colossal waste, an overconsumption of resources and poor quality. The ’practise’ of fast fashion is ‘allowed’ within a culture where people see their clothes as offering limited use & are readily disposable commodities, once a trend or fad is finished.

What can you do about fast fashion?

To combat the impacts of fast fashion we can;

  • Slow down our purchasing & essentially purchase less
  • Consider what we buy, how it is made and support ethical brands. A good resource when looking at who are the ethical brands is Good on You
  • Buy quality clothing which is made to last
  • Mend what you can
  • Shop your wardrobe and if you are not wearing a piece – onsell it or gift it
  • At NOT NEW we stand by the policy that the best way to combat the negative effects of the fashion industry is to focus on buying what has already been produced #NOTNEW


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