Rapidly Evolving Trends in Fashion: The Truth Behind the Hype


New Delhi: The World Economic Forum notes that while fast fashion lowers clothing prices, it does so at the expense of the environment. Although consumers are spending more on apparel, it is surviving lesser than ever before. This inevitably leads to an increased frequency of discarding and, thus, increased garbage production.

This Fast Fashion industry follows a strategy for developing and distributing clothing styles that prioritise meeting consumer demand for new styles in a timely manner at a reasonable price. The term “fast fashion” refers to the garment industry’s practice of rapidly producing low-priced quantities of recently popular styles in order to meet consumers’ demands at the height of their interest in those particular looks. The rise in spending power of customers, especially young people, has enabled them to satisfy their cravings for trendy clothing on the spot, making fast fashion a regular phenomenon.

How does it work?

Companies in the fashion industry are in fierce competition to offer you the newest and most fashionable looks, which has resulted in a pricing war. This entices them to use low-quality materials and labour-intensive processes to get items to stores and customers as quickly as possible to facilitate effective and timely dispatch.

However, it shortens the lifespan of your closet’s garments, which you likely spent a significant amount of money on. In addition, when these garments get up in landfills or the ocean, it has a devastating effect on wildlife.

Detriments of fast fashion:

When discussing sustainable fashion, we must also consider the lives of those who make our garments. It’s not hard to figure out that the fashion business is a hotbed for labour exploitation as the majority of workers are made to work under poor conditions and are often paid a pittance. This financial insecurity leads to domestic violence since a disproportionate amount of women work in the business.

In addition, excess trims, defective textiles, dead stock, dyes, unclean water, carbon dioxide, and other harmful chemicals that are under constant utilisation and also byproducts, threaten the environment. Polyester is one of the most often used materials made from fossil fuels, and because it is non-biodegradable, it can remain in landfills for more than 200 years. Natural materials, too, such as cotton, are no exception since they require massive amounts of water and chemicals to grow.

As per UNEP, two to eight percent of global carbon emissions come from the apparel business. Moreover, it takes about 2,000 gallons of water to manufacture a standard pair of jeans, making textile dyes the world’s second-largest pollutant of water.

Child labour is also one of the primary practices that have contributed to the success of the fashion industry as a whole. Regarding these problems, the entire world is decades behind.

A way forward towards a greener world is urgently needed. We share a globe where, in the near future, nations could be in a drought, where it takes 1800 gallons of water to make a pair of jeans.

Sustainable fabrics like hemp, which have more positives than negatives, can assist in promoting sustainability. The potential of these resources is promising if tapped into efficiently.

Now, what should you do to incorporate conscious lifestyle choices in your life? The following can help:

1. Invest in Sustainable Brands:

Sustainable clothing may be more expensive than fast fashion, but it need not be more expensive than name brands, for which we often pay a premium for the label’s prestige but not necessarily for the product’s quality or longevity.

Currently, there is a smaller selection of sustainable clothing options and it is more convenient and less expensive to head to the nearest shopping mall to restock your closet, but as consumer demand increases, more options will become available.

2. Look for Quality: 

Because of the abundant availability of cheap apparel, we no longer appreciate quality. We replace damaged or unattractive garments and prefer buying costly apparel or shoes that look outdated or develop holes in them within two months.

If we as consumers stop buying low-quality items, corporations will improve their products. Our wallets and the world will thank us for extending the life of our clothing.

3. Thrift, Trade, and Donate:

Instead of buying new apparel, have a look at alternate options:

“Thrift store” is not a novel idea. Used-goods stores pop up in every country. There are a plethora of online and mobile apps that provide access to a wide variety of second-hand options- from the most affordable to high-end designer labels.

You can also make someone else happy by giving away your old garments to those in need.

All across the world, you may find examples of movements revolving around trading and donating clothes springing up. Participants bring in unwanted garments in exchange for those that they might actually need. This is a cheap and eco-friendly approach to refill or make space in your wardrobe. You can also organise it among your peers.

Power of awareness:

Our generation is the most vocal about exploitative and unsustainable habits. Consumers worry about global issues now more than before. Social media has made information on how fashion companies handle their employees and the environmental friendliness of their products more accessible to consumers. Armed with information and attentiveness, consumers can push any brand to satisfy their needs, regardless of popularity or worth. Active participation has increased brands’ consumer satisfaction behaviour.

For instance, Patagonia, a U.S. outdoor clothing manufacturer, was named a UN Champion of the Earth for its creative sustainability efforts. Patagonia’s campaign against fast fashion highlights the company’s attempts to decrease its own negative impact on the environment by discouraging frequent garment purchases.

“Buy less, choose well and make it last” – Vivienne Westwood.

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