Fast Fashion & the ticking clock!

The fashion industry produced and ran clothes for four seasons a year up until the mid-twentieth century, and the designers would work many months in advance to predict what the customers would want.

Fast fashion is the term to describe mass-producing, a little inorganic and trending fashion. They are the most affordable type of latest trends and they get more profits. On a global scale, our generation is going after fast fashion more than ever. Fast fashion is also mostly preferred as we see a lot of celebrities wearing them on ads and we desire to buy them as we the consumers worldwide, go after cheap and the most trending fashion. The business side is very profitable in fast fashion, it gives way for many jobs and it also adds to the GDP, boosting the economy of that country.


The fashion industry produced and ran clothes for four seasons a year up until the mid-twentieth century, and the designers would work many months in advance to predict what the customers would want. It was in the 1960s and 1970s that this method changed drastically when the young generation started to create new trends and used cheaply-made clothing as a form of personal expression.

Although most fashion brands tried to find ways of keeping up with the increasing demand for affordable clothes, there was still a clear distinction between the high-end and high-street. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, fast fashion became a booming industry in America with people enthusiastically partaking in consumerism. Fast fashion retailers such as ZaraH&MTopshop and Primark took over high street fashion. Initially starting as small stores located in Europe, they were able to infiltrate and gain prominence in the American market by examining and replicating the looks and design elements from runway shows and top fashion houses and quickly reproducing and selling them at a fraction of a cost.


Fast fashion has developed from a product-driven concept based on a manufacturing model referred to as “quick-response” developed in the U.S. in the 1980s and moved to a market-based model of “fast fashion” in the late 1990s and first part of the 21st century. The Zara brand name has become almost synonymous with the term, but other retailers worked with the concept before the label was applied, such as Benetton. Fast fashion has also become associated with disposable fashion because it has delivered designer product to a mass market at relatively low prices. The primary objective of fast fashion is to quickly produce a product in a cost-efficient manner to respond to fast-changing consumer tastes in as near real time as possible.

This efficiency is achieved through the retailers’ understanding of the target market wants, which is a high fashion-looking garment at a price at the lower end of the clothing sector. Primarily, the concept of category management has been used to align the retail buyer and the manufacturer in a more collaborative relationship. This collaboration occurs as many companies’ resources are pooled to further develop more sophisticated and efficient supply chain models to increase the market’s total profit. The fast fashion market utilizes this by uniting with foreign manufacturers to keep prices at a minimum.


Though fast fashion is very profitable to the economy, it does a lot of damage to the environment. Most of the clothes end up in the dump as fast fashion goes after quantity and not quality, as a result a lot of the clothing ends up in the dump. Fast fashion clothes use mostly inorganic materials and the clothing which ends up in the dump gets burnt or just stays there, either way it harms the nature.

The gas released when burning inorganic materials is dangerous and the clothing just sitting there damages the soil. Lot of these clothing are made out of fibers like polyester and producing polyester releases two or three times more carbon emissions than cotton and polyester doesn’t break down in the ocean. The fashion industry alone is responsible for 10% of the world’s carbon emissions and also for 20% of the industrial water pollution. It also is the second largest consumer of water worldwide.


Fast fashion needs products to be manufactured fast, which means dyeing the materials faster and making the clothes faster and what better way to get things done faster than by using inorganic fabrics and dyeing materials. Most of the fashion industries in the world dump untreated toxic wastewater directly into the rivers. These toxic wastewaters contain substances like lead, mercury and other harmful substances. These substances are extremely harmful for the aquatic life and also for the health of all the people who are dependent on the river for water. When a synthetic or inorganic cloth makes its way into the ocean, small organisms consume it which then are eaten by small fish and then bigger fish which are eaten by us and we’d be consuming plastic. We’d literally be eating plastic.

As mentioned earlier fast fashion needs faster manufacturing rate and for that chemicals are added into the clothes. These chemicals cause deadly diseases among farmers and these chemicals cause massive seawater pollution and also soil degradation. This industry generates a lot of greenhouse gases due to its production, manufacturing and transportation of millions of clothes purchased each year. Synthetic fibers used in the clothes are made from fossil fuels, making production much more energy-intensive than natural fibers. Each year thousands of forests are cut down and replaced by plantations of trees used to make wood-based fabrics such as rayon and other fabrics.

We could try and reduce the damage done to the nature. For instance, we could go after clothes which are made out of organic fibers which do not require chemicals to be produced. We could choose fibers with low water consumption; choose clothes which are made of natural or semi-synthetic fibers, buy less and better quality clothes, choose sustainable brands, always wash new clothes before using them the first times, look for clothes containing certification label controlling chemical content, buy clothes made in countries powered by more renewable energy, choose fibers friendly to the soil.