Transient ‘fast fashion’ trends spawn global scourge

By Alondra Gallardo, Opinion Editor

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While women walk around with a $12 little black dress on to support the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, think about the young girl making your dress inside a factory under extremely poor conditions, receiving little to no wages and possibly experiencing sexual harassment herself.

Fast fashion is de-valuing the actual meaning behind powerful movements.

The term “fast fashion” in case you are not familiar with it, refers to stores like Forever 21, H&M, Charlotte Rousse, Zara (just to name a few) where you can buy trendy, yet super cheap, clothing items.

The little-known truth is, these fast fashion brands are stealing great ideas from hard working artists while not giving them credit.

There are four seasons in the year — fall, winter, spring, and summer — so there are four different seasons for different styles of clothing. But when it comes to fast fashion, there are 52 micro seasons leading to more clothing items being produced.

Each week, these stores get shipped different fashion styles and not in small portions —  but in large quantities.

The clothes are made in foreign countries that use chemicals that are not necessarily legal to work with here in the United States because of their increased toxicity.

Clothing manufacturers coat their products with  chemicals at several different stages, from coloring fabrics to finishing pieces and in cleaning just before shipping.

And tons of styles that get shipped each day get thrown out, whether it’s because they did not sell in the short period of time they were put on display, or the consumers find pieces to be made out of poor material.

In many cases the consumer throws products away or quickly returns them to the store to buy even more items.

The clothing items are not able to be recycled because of the chemicals used during production. So they just get thrown out.

This irresponsible behavior leads to more pollution contaminating the Earth — as if it needs anymore of that.

Wearing a $7 T-shirt that has “feminist af” written across it because it has all of a sudden become socially acceptable and trendy does not justify the feminist movement itself. It only enriches out of touch fashionistas.

Think about where your shirt comes from and who makes it.

Anyone can market a slogan — whether they stand with the movement or not.

According to the clean clothes campaign, the garment workers worldwide are about 75 percent female.

Last time I checked, the feminist movement was supposed to include all women, and not just the ones who can afford to wear the T-shirt.

Using these trends as catalyst for activism is pretty ironic.

So next time you decide to purchase a little black dress or a T-shirt with “feminist” phrases written on them, please think about all of the women and young girls making your toxic clothing items. They suffer in silence as you are oblivious to, or unaware of, where your clothes actually come from.

Having large chain stores sell these items is making it a trend that just about anyone can hop onto rather than actually having the movements be glorified for what they actually stand for.

Fashion can be a forum for protest if it is done the right way. But co-opting movements for money or turning a profit, while exploiting workers, is not it.

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