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The Truth About Fast Fashion.

Fast fashion is a business model in the fashion industry that focuses on quickly producing and delivering inexpensive clothing items to meet the rapidly changing fashion trends. This business model is characterised by its low-cost production processes, quick turnaround times, and frequent turnover of clothing collections.

The fast fashion industry emerged in the 1990s, with companies like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21 leading the way. These companies offered affordable clothing lines that mimicked the latest runway designs, but at a fraction of the cost. Fast fashion brands achieved this by cutting costs in various ways, such as using cheaper materials, outsourcing production to countries with lower labour costs, and reducing the time it takes to bring a new product to market.

Fast fashion companies typically release new collections every few weeks or even days, which means that their stores are constantly being updated with new items. This strategy encourages customers to buy more frequently and impulsively, as they feel pressure to keep up with the latest trends before they are replaced with new ones.

Another hallmark of fast fashion is its emphasis on quantity over quality. The garments produced by fast fashion companies are often made with inferior materials and manufacturing processes, which means they may not last as long as more expensive clothing items.

This disposable approach to fashion has significant environmental consequences, as discarded clothing can end up in landfills and contribute to pollution.

Fast fashion has been criticised for its negative impact on the environment, as well as for its labour practices. Many fast fashion brands outsource their production to countries with lower labour costs, where workers may be paid low wages and work in unsafe or exploitative conditions. Additionally, fast fashion's rapid pace of production can encourage labour abuses, such as forced labour and excessive overtime.

In conclusion, fast fashion is a business model that prioritises low-cost production, quick turnaround times, and frequent updates to fashion collections. While it has allowed for greater accessibility to fashion trends, it has also been associated with negative environmental and labour impacts.

So what can you do about it? After writing this article, I have certainly changed the way I buy my clothes!

Here are some of my top tips:

  • Buy less and more durable clothes - choose slow-fashion;

  • Avoid fast-fashion companies and support small local businesses instead;

  • Rent clothes you’re only likely to wear once;

  • Buy pre-owned items. Stratford and Newham has lots of charity shops;

  • Swap clothes with friends;

  • Repair and upcycle your clothes;

  • Re-sell or give clothes for free online;

  • Pull out clothes from the back of the wardrobe and try to introduce them into your daily style;

  • Change the purpose of your clothes (for example, clothes for special occasions can become office outfits or casual T-shirts can become clothes for the home and end their lives as cleaning rags, once totally worn out.

Written by Kawthar (Y12)

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