Fast Fashion is quick to produce and quick to throw in the garbage.
Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers for designs that move from catwalk quickly to capture current fashion trends. A second, critical definition adds that fast fashion is not only about quickly moving from runway to store to consumer, but also to the garbage.
Now that you know what fast fashion is, if you didn’t already, I am now going to tell you why it is good for sustainability and the fashion industry. The self-proclaimed ‘Eco Warrior Princess’ presents well substantiated facts about the horrors of ‘fast fashion’ in her blog, ‘The Real Cost of Fashion: An Essay Exploring the Fashion Industry’s Social and Environmental Issues.’
What the Eco Warrior Princess doesn’t grasp is that without fast fashion, her entire raison d’être is due to garments being made in sweat shops by nearly slave labor to be sold in Western departments stores only to be discarded a few months later by millennials more concerned about cheap, trendy fashion than by workers’ rights or the environment no matter how much they blame everything on the ‘Boomers.’
Do you see, without this horrible trend by an apparently narcissistic segment of our population, the pressure for the fashion industry to change would not be so prevalent.
When I decided to start the world’s first eco-fashion brand for endurance athletes several years ago, I monitored the noise surrounding not only the fashion industry but sustainability as well. And let me tell you, the two terms ‘fashion’ and ‘sustainability’ were rarely, if ever mentioned in the same publication let alone the same article.
Look at the two Google topic search trend lines below. One is for ‘fast fashion’ and the other is for ‘sustainable fashion.’ Both are from 2004 to present. Notice anything? They are nearly the same trend line. I argue that without the publicity around fast fashion, the sustainable fashion movement would still be a small whisper, if not chuckles, in the dark corners of major label boardrooms.
A closer and careful reader of this post might notice that I mentioned starting the world’s first eco-fashion brand for endurance athletes a few years ago. Why, you might wonder, has it taken so long? Again I have to thank fast fashion or more accurately, the current noise surrounding it.
Over the course of my exploration to launch the brand (note: officially set for Q2 2020)
the manufacturing landscape was a literal desert when trying to find companies that provided decent working conditions and sustainable fabric choices. Until recently, you had to be the size (i.e. purchasing power) of Patagonia in order to find a factory that could fulfill the need. Thanks to fast fashion, I now have multiple options for both factories and fabrics from which to choose.
So yes, I think we all owe a great bit of gratitude to fast fashion for shoving the dark underbelly of the fashion industry right in our faces. We would have ignored it otherwise.