We seem to be constantly bombarded by all sorts of information about climate change, and what negative effects it has on the environment and humanity as a whole. But in light of those many gloomy facts, we’re not really given any options as to what we can do ourselves to counter the situation – making us feel more anxious and less in control with every passing day. We somehow see this whole climate-change thing as a governmental responsibility of sorts, but as things often are, the environment is usually pushed to the sidelines of policymaking, as if somehow the problem will solve itself.
There are, nevertheless, things that we can individually do to curb global warming. This isn’t called The Age of Efficiency for nothing, and we can do our part simply by becoming more efficient in everything that we do. And almost nothing is as wasteful as the clothes we wear. Known as fast fashion, this apparel industry has crept itself under the radar to become one of the leading causes of pollution in the world.
9. What is Fast Fashion?
Sometimes described as “low cost clothing collections that mimic current fashion trends,” fast fashion is a modern term used by fashion retailers to reference a particular segment of the fashion industry that focuses on getting new garment designs from the catwalk and into the hands of consumers as fast as possible. Its emphasis is on optimizing the supply-chain so as to lower the price as much as possible, and to offer an aggressive marketing campaign that will generate as many new trends as it labels others as obsolete. Fast fashion clothes are usually made out of low-quality materials so as to reduce costs, and are usually bought by young consumers who want to keep up with the latest trends.
Fast fashion, or cheap chic, got its start in the 1990s, when fashion designers were under pressure to increase their revenue as department store chains were beginning to create their own lines of cheap, but fashion-oriented clothing. A figurative war began to produce as many trends of clothing as possible, fueled in large part by the emergent manufacturing powerhouses from Asia. A Cambridge University study showed that in 2006 people were buying a third more clothes than they were in 2002. Moreover, people had four times as many clothes as they had in the ’80s. Today, retailers like ZARA, H&M, Primark, Peacocks, NewYorker, C&A, Forever 21, Topshop, and many others are synonymous with fast fashion.