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  • Nivriti Adnani

The Dark Side of Fashion

The term 'fast fashion' was coined by the New York Times in the 1980s. It refers to the mass production of cheap clothing made at warp speed that follows the ever-changing trends in the fashion industry.

Along with being extremely harmful for the environment, fast fashion is also infamous for the exploitation of its garment workers, mainly young women between the ages of 18 to 24. The fast fashion industry thrives on the exploitation of men and indigenous women; poor pay, long hours, unhealthy conditions and terrible employee safety coverage. Due to the lack of public awareness and government regulations, brands have been able to continue underpaying, overworking and abusing government workers behind closed doors.

In 2020, members of the Kardashian-Jenner family, among other pop culture icons and popular brands, refused to pay their garment suppliers in Bangladesh for orders produced in February and March 2020 that had already been shipped due to a drop in sales caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of October 2020, the market capitalization had grown by 11% whereas the garment worker wages declined by 21%. Huge corporations are not held accountable for the people they harm and are able to lock hard working humans into poverty while shoring up profits in the middle of a crisis. Since the beginning of the pandemic, forty billion dollars worth of orders initially went unpaid. However, pressure from social media campaigns such as #PayUp resulted in brands paying an estimated twenty-two billion dollars to the garment factories, which is still not the total sum they owe them.

Although a lot of people opt for fast fashion thinking it is cheaper, we need to realize that fast fashion is not free, someone somewhere is paying. You are personally responsible for what you wear, they make more clothes because you buy more! Be a part of sustainable fashion by swapping or borrowing clothes from your friends, calling out forced labor, thrifting, buying from small businesses and sustainable brands and even making your own clothes if you have a passion for sewing. It is not enough to look for quality in the clothes we buy, we must ensure there is quality in the lives of the people who make them!

How fast fashion consumes our environment and society

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