The rise of fashion parades recently clearly leads to a new phenomenon, fast fashion. There are pros, there are cons as well. But how did this phenomenon develop and what impact did it have?
Apart from the frenzy and popularity of fast fashion which now seems global, there are negative impacts. The most common impacts are exploitation of workers, harming animals, and worst of all, damaging the environment.
Together with Milan, Paris became a kind of world fashion hub. That's why, Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week are the two most awaited fashion events every year.
Though, not all fashion houses are allowed to take part in this show, and visitors are also limited. The enthusiasm that cannot be accommodated makes several fashion houses hold fashion shows outside the official places such as on streets, sidewalks, and even intersections.
Through the help of social media, fast fashion seems to open the eyes of the world that fashion shows are not always synonymous with a glamorous catwalk stage. Just by asphalt roads, the same attractions can be held without having to spend more money.
This pop culture then went global, and almost all parts of the world are now doing it. In general, fast fashion can be defined as a low-end fashion show with a modest budget by taking ideas from the catwalk or fashion trends.
The main goal is to present the latest fashion models as quickly as possible at affordable prices so the fashion lovers can wear them when they are trending, but throw them away after several uses.
The main reason for fast fashion fans is that being late in wearing trendy clothes is a form of fashion faux pas, and if they want to stay relevant to today's trend, they have to come up with clothes that are being discussed.
This situation triggers a toxic system that leads to overproduction, which in turn makes fashion one of the biggest pollutants in the world.
In relation to the environment, the impact of fast fashion is very bad. Fast changing fashion trends lead to rapid production which, unfortunately, triggers environmental damage. So, what is the impact?
The pressure to lower prices and speed up production times means that a number of conservation principles are being violated. One practice is by using cheap textile dyes, which are harmful.
Polyester is a common fabric that is used in fashion. Taken from nature, polyester contributes to global warming because it uses microfibers which can increase the microplastic content in the water.
Even clothes from ordinary material may cause problems when produced for fast fashion scale. This is because conventional fabrics require more water to clean. The risk of drought will arise and water sources become a problem which may trigger conflicts between companies and local communities.
One example is the liquid waste from a garment industry. High demand at a constant pace triggers other environmental problems such as new land clearing, loss of biodiversity, and soil degradation.
Animals are affected by fast fashion, both directly and indirectly. Dyes, which contain toxins and microfibers, will contaminate soil and water sources. Since animals rely their life on nature, they are more threatened.
The direct effect of fast fashion that harms animals is related to the use of their body parts. Leather, fur, and wool are body parts that are used directly for fashion, either for accessories or main materials.
Behind the glitter of today's fashion world, there are scandals regarding the use of real skins and furs taken from various animals, mostly cats and dogs.
The fashion industry contributes to more than 10% of carbon emissions on a global scale. This figure is below the oil industry in the first rank. This is not good news from the industry that focuses on a 'good' look.
With such a portion, it is estimated that emissions will reach more than 50% by 2030. Carbon emissions arise not only from the production process, but when fashion products are moved from one place to the catwalk, and when fashion products are discarded because the trend is over.
Take jeans for example. The amount of water needed to produce jeans until they are displayed in stores will result in 33.4 kg of carbon emissions. You can imagine the number of emissions if jeans are produced quickly for fast fashion purposes.
Currently, an estimated 1.2 billion tons of carbon emissions arise because fast fashion pop culture. In other words, fast fashion is fueling carbon emissions like never before.
In fact, 92 million tons of textile waste is created every year, and the number will increase to 134 million tons by 2030. Supposedly, 95% of textile waste can be recycled and reused, but the fast fashion culture prevents this cycle from taking place.
Trends that change quickly make consumers believe that trending clothes are only for 'one time use'. The logic is simple, when switching to the latest trends, old-fashioned clothes are usually no longer relevant and abandoned, even thrown away.
For 2018, 17 million tons of textile waste ended up in landfills, which take 200 years to decompose. Just as the name suggests, fast fashion is a trend that changes quickly, or instantly. And we should avoid any instant product because anything that is instant will not end well.