Many of you may have heard this phrase before but what exactly is "fast fashion"? It's a term used to describe a business model that involves quickly producing and selling inexpensive clothing, shoes and/or accessories that are based on the latest trends. Fun fact: We are living in a world where 150 billion pieces of clothes are produced annually! It's truly a staggering number. With constant releases at incredibly low prices, fast fashion has primed consumers to shop often and in excess. Shoppers can justify more purchases because of the lower price tag and end up viewing clothing as disposable. So I'm left to ask myself, if everyone is jumping on this band wagon doesn't this negate those of us who are on a mission for sustainability and can fast fashion ever be sustainable?
To my knowledge, the answer is a resounding NO. The industry is associated with a number of negative social and environmental impacts, including exploitative labor practices, excessive waste and pollution. This idea of "greenwashing" that these brands love to incorporate in their marketing is just plain hog wash. People throw around the terms environmentally friendly, organic, all natural, but in order to use such terms you need to be able to back them up. I can tell you where the organic cotton is sourced in the Cassius line and that the materials the factory uses are certified under Global Organic Textile Standard International or with Global Recycled Standard. When big brands throw around claims it's harmful to smaller brands that actually follow the rules. It makes it harder for genuinely environmentally friendly products and companies to stand out in the marketplace.
So, what should we do? We have to keep holding the mainstream brands accountable and educating people on their practices. Here are a few ways the fast fashion brands can start to shift their industry: Ensure fair payment and treatment for their garment workers, slow down production, disclose their supply chain and STOP greenwashing. Change can and will happen as long as we make our voices heard!