The Dark Side of Your Favorite Fast Fashion Brand

The Dark Side of Your Favorite Fast Fashion Brand

Kazima Muwwakkil, Staff Reporter

One of the many perks of going to Amityville Memorial High School is that there are no uniform policies (WOOHOO!!!).  (Editor’s note: there is a dress code located in the Code of Conduct)

While that alone can put a smile on any students’ face  – because let’s be real…khakis…every day? Hard pass. One must observe the great or in some cases not-so-great, daily catwalks that take place in the halls every period. 

Some teens come dressed in the latest, most trendy outfits. Then there are those who just dress “comfy/casual”. While others rock more unique aesthetics, ranging from preppy/soft girl, grunge, academia, retro vintage, classic streetwear, and I guess wearing pj’s to school is a thing now, too. 

Oh, and let’s not forget the baggy ripped jeans. They. Are. Everywhere.

Now, most would tell you that they bought their cool hoodie from one of the many online stores such as:

  • Shein
  • PrettyLittleThing
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Zara
  • H&M
  • Fashion Nova

And that’s just to name a few. 

Granted, you have heard a few of these names before…they sell stylish clothes for an inexpensive price and promote new looks so often that you never have to worry about losing track of the latest trends. 

Sounds like a great deal, right? We high school-ers aren’t usually loaded with cash…so if there’s a way to have a fashionable wardrobe for a fraction of the price then what could be wrong?

It would be perfect…aside from the fact that these fast fashion companies foster inadequate work environments where underpaid workers manufacture products out of low-quality materials quickly and for cheap prices. The clothes are then sold for a low price, only to be worn a handful of times by the consumer (remember that shirt you haven’t worn in months?), and then sent to a landfill. Even though typical consumers in the North American market may be able to afford clothes for a cheaper price, fast fashion comes with a cost with a handful of consequences. It’s a broken but seductive system that has continued to wreak havoc on our world at both a social and environmental level.  

Many fashion retailers, even those who claim to be ethical, exploit social causes like environmentalism for capital gain. Brands like Zara announced their own crowd-pleasing sustainability goals last year, yet continue to follow a fast fashion business model that produces huge amounts of low-quality, low-cost clothes. This is a perfect example of greenwashing, a term coined in the 1980s by environmentalist Jay Westervelt. 

The fashion industry consumes one-tenth of all of the water used industrially to run factories and clean products. It’s the third most pollutive industry in the world! 

To put this into perspective, it takes 10,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of cotton or approximately 3,000 liters of water for one cotton shirt. Furthermore, textile dyeing requires toxic chemicals that subsequently end up in our oceans. Approximately 20% of the wastewater worldwide is attributed to this process, which accumulates over time. As many factories moved overseas, they may be in countries without strict environmental regulations, resulting in untreated water entering the oceans. Regrettably, the wastewater created is extremely toxic and in many cases, cannot be treated to become safe again. 

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Sometimes, less is more. It’s excess consumption that fuels these brands in the first place, not to mention the materialism rooted in American civilization. If everyone put in a little more effort to counterbalance fast fashion, we would really see a drastic improvement in our country and world. 

So…think twice next time your scroll through the thousands of garment choices on a fast fashion website, and remember what goes behind each piece of clothing. Try shopping sustainably, or hey, try shopping LESS. I mean c’mon…do you really need to order a new set of clothes every other month?