If you have not heard of the term fast fashion, it's essentially low cost clothing that is constantly changing to copy current fashion trends. Big labels such as H&M, Zara, Forever 21, Uniqlo, and so on are brands that are considered fast fashion. While shopping for trendy pieces that are easy on the pockets is always a thrill, the documentary The True Cost digs deep at the truth and the ugly side of the fashion industry to uncover as to why these clothes come in so cheap. The film also reveals the working conditions of the workers who produce these garments and what really happens to the clothes we throw away. Here are some things you may have not known about fast fashion:
We have been consuming 500% more than the last two decades.
Our generation has been consuming so much more than the previous ones that the numbers show a 500% increase in consumption. Every year, about 80 billion clothes are being consumed. Yikes! This is all because of the rise of fast fashion which is both trendy and affordable.
Fast fashion is the second biggest polluter in the world.
Did you know that the fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world? Second only to oil! That's a really alarming fact! We have been buying and throwing away so much clothes that even thrift stores can't sell all of the clothes! The remaining items get thrown away in landfills and with textile taking (almost) 200 years to break down, the clothes just stack up and emit harmful fumes to our environment.
The workers producing these clothes are subjected to unsafe conditions.
In 1960, America used to produce 95% of their own clothing, but nowadays, that number has been greatly reduced to 3%, the rest being outsourced from a number of developing countries (primarily third world countries). Since fast fashion is mainly outsourced and manufactured in third world countries, workers are subject to unsafe working conditions. These workers suffer from factory fires, collapsing buildings and hazardous working environment due to chemicals in the factories, all the while receiving only less than $3 a day. Workers are beaten by their bosses if they start a union, all because of corporate greed.
We are potentially destroying our environment.
The film also tackled how our choices are affecting the environment as well. The cycle of how we consume and throw away clothes is so alarming that our landfills cannot contain the amount of clothes being brought in. Aside from that, companies have found new ways to speed up the process of producing cotton which in turn produces pesticide infused fields. Chemicals being dumped in waters of developing countries contaminate their drinking water and in turn, a massive increase in cancer and birth defects.
We know it might be a lot to take in, but it's never too late to make a change, Candy Girls! Fast fashion companies are now aware of the damage that they are bringing and have since been making changes in their supply chain and the ethics of their business. However, it is still up to us, the consumers to do our part if we want to contribute in stopping the consequences of fast fashion. There are a lot of other options out there such as thrift shopping, patching up your old clothes or even supporting local businesses! There are so many ways to still shop without harming the planet that we live in! Ultimately, the best thing that you can do, Candy Girls, is to consume LESS. Be more aware the next time you "need" to buy that trendy dress. While it may be "cheap," you can be sure that there’s someone out there is paying the price for it!