Online shopping has been really popular this year especially in the fast-fashion industry. Controversy has arisen about the increasing number of products purchased from fast-fashion websites such as Shein and Romwe.
Fast fashion provides rapidly-produced abundances of clothing. In the 1990s, Zara first spread the term “fast fashion” to describe their mission to produce clothes in under 15 days. That is, 15 days to go from the design stage to being released in stores.
Low quality materials are typically used to introduce new inexpensive styles to the public. Although these types of clothes can be perceived as trendy and fashionable, fast fashion can have tolls on its workers and the environment.
As reported by Fashionabc, “There are approximately 40 million garment workers in the world today; many of whom do not have rights or protections.”Workers that are producing these products in factories spend hours and hours each shift. Fast fashion companies exploit their workers to maximize the profits they gain. Workers are typically overseas working in large factories in countries such as Bangladesh, China, and Vietnam. Fast fashion is bad for its workers, especially young, underaged women. These women work long hours in unsafe conditions with minimal pay.
Workers are mostly women and poor families who need to make money even if it’s just enough to purchase every-day necessities.
Although buying a top for $5 can seem like no big deal, it can have a serious impact on the environment. According to the Good Trade, a foundation set on sustainable living, It has been estimated that 20% of the world’s pollution is the result of the fast fashion industry’s dyeing and cultivation process. Approximately 800 or more chemicals are used to transform raw materials into different fabrics for their clothing.
One of the products used in textile factories in countries that produce fast fashion is untreated wastewater. This can contain substances like lead, mercury, and arsenic which can be harmful to aquatic life. Waste water from these clothes are typically dumped into rivers.
The most popular fast-fashion websites — Shein, H&M, Zara, Romwe, and Forever 21 are rapidly growing companies that can sell up to 50 million tons of clothes. The advertisements and commercials used are a way of manipulating viewers into checking these websites out and buying products.
Of course, it’s nearly impossible for everyone to not buy from these websites all at once, but as we move into future generations we should be mindful of our planet and workers that are slaves to these large industries. Next time you think of buying a top or a pair of jeans from these stores, think twice.