Fast fashion can it be sustainable?

Santi Santiago, Fashion Artist, Brazil

Sep 27, 2016

Fast fashion can it be sustainable?

Society has changed enormously over the last 50 years, which is actually my lifetime, yeah I am an old fart, and one thing which is almost unrecognisable is fashion. According to the fast fashion industry, H&M, Forever 21 and others fast fashion has democratised the fashion industry. Now according to them everybody can afford “fashionable” clothing. Fashion, previously was just the privilege of the wealthy and the upper middle classes whereas sadly everybody else had to miss out.

Fashion was seasonable and followed the seasons of the year now fast fashion has decided that instead of seasonal trends we will have shorter trends because after all who wants to wait three months for new clothing to hit the stores?

What is exactly fast fashion?

Fast fashion was originally about fast production as I mentioned above but now it is all about fast turnover. It is about training people through a constant bombardment of non-stop advertising to buy, buy, buy or another way consume, consume and consume some more. Modern woman is encouraged to work hard and also to spend hard. In their spare time they are encouraged to spend it in the shopping malls of America or the High Streets of the UK and Europe.

Fast fashion is obsessed with low prices because low prices have an important psychological effect on people. Somebody is more likely to make an impulse buy when a dress is under $30 or the swimwear is under $20. They don’t stop to think do I really NEED this outfit or do I just merely WANT it. Impulse buying releases a chemical in the brain which makes you feel good called dopamine. When people say they get addicted to shopping and jokingly refer it as “retail therapy” they are not actually joking. They are talking more truthfully then they actually know.

High Street 25

Towards a solution

Perhaps the question we need to ask ourselves is a lot bigger than simply is fast fashion good or bad but we need to take a look at consumption as a whole in our society. Especially mindless consumption of things we don’t really need but we just buy them in order to feel good inside ourselves and about ourselves.
The the price we pay for this is enormous especially the cost to the environment and the social cost of not paying people who make our clothes so cheaply a sustainable wage. But that is a discussion for another blog post.

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