Is fast fashion coming to an end?
“Fast fashion isn't free. Someone, somewhere is paying.” — LUCY SIEGLE.
Why is it that fashion today is so much more fast-paced than it was in the past? The answer is simple, the demand for fashionable clothes has never been greater. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. So-called fast fashion allows consumers to buy more of what they are wearing. These garments are trending quickly and buyers are disposing of them at an unprecedented rate. With the advent of social media, we are now constantly bombarded with new trends, and as a result, we want what we see – and we want it now!
Suddenly, we were all able to access and purchase clothes at a fraction of the price we’d paid previously. We can choose our colours and styles and have them delivered to our door in a few days. It’s hard to imagine a world without online shopping. One could argue that the increase in clothing volume and the reduction in moderately priced clothing have had a direct effect on the market for fast fashion. According to ons.gov.uk 87% of UK households shopped online in 2020, the highest rate ever recorded in the UK. We buy our food shopping, our clothes, and electronics online, and even our prescription drugs online. But for the major fast fashion companies, online shopping used to be a small source of revenue. Today, the chains rely on it as the primary way their customers interact with the brand.
The rise of online shopping has shrunk the physical footprint of many stores. According to fashiondiscounts in the UK, an estimated 93% of the UK population shopped for products or services online in 2021. Undoubtedly, the problem is that the traditional fashion industry can’t keep up with this demand. A shocking statistic (according to business insider) is that the average person only wears 20% of the clothing they own. Studies have shown that the remaining 80% are collecting dust in their wardrobes and taking up space in a landfill. The environmental issue associated with the fashion industry is just the tip of the negative iceberg.
The reality is that many brands that we know, and love do not pay their workers a suitable living wage. The fashion industry is notorious for low unfair wages. Unethical sweatshops and even child labour. Retailers like ASOS drop at least 5,000 new styles a week, and Shein offers 700 to 1,000 new styles daily. People tend to come back to these brands because they are known for their low prices, trend focuses, and quick turnaround times- all of which appeal to the millennial shopper.
Obviously, the last thing that mainstreams clothing brands want is for consumers to buy less. Except perhaps for brands that value human rights and the environment. Noelle, is a Leicester based sustainably sourced and ethically made clothing brand, with a focus on comfort and timeless style.
Eliza McCann, created the brand out of a desire for a product that didn’t already exist. Eliza McCann always had a love for fashion but couldn't go on in the industry without recognising the issues and creating change.
In recent years, the fashion industry has been shifting. Consumers have become more interested in buying second-hand clothes. The second-hand apparel market is worth about £24.bn in the UK alone. The industry is growing – and likely contributing to the decline of fast fashion. This change in attitude has been driven by a number of factors, including a desire to save money, a preference for unique clothing, and a
growing awareness of the environmental impact of the fashion industry. While thrifting has become more popular in recent years, it has also become more controversial thrifting can be a joyful experience it is not exactly guilt-free.
How can the fashion industry continue to grow while addressing the environmental need for people to buy fewer clothes? Leicester-based blogger Cathi Rae is a blogger of fashion, a poet, a spoken word artist, and a body positivity model. Cathi Rae (educator/author) has been a champion of change in the industry for years she recognises the need for fast fashion to end. Her stylish clothes and thrifting tips have found her a big online following.
The growth of fast fashion has exposed the dark side of the clothing industry, and people are beginning to care about where their clothes come from. Over in India over 1 million tonnes of textiles are thrown away in India every year. Brands like Pieux continue to make a difference. Consumers are becoming more aware of the impact their choices have on the environment, and they are demanding change. Brands both old and new are beginning to adopt sustainability as part of their ethos.
Pieux has been taking the world by storm ,Pratyush Kumar created the brand with the belief that fashion should be healthy for the planet. Pieux is committed to creating innovative timeless design throw the use of recycled and eco-friendly materials that would otherwise be thrown away.
A world without fast fashion would mean better quality clothes made to last lifetimes. It would mean learning to mend and repair broken items instead of binning them. It would mean paying workers fairly for their time and supporting more local businesses, instead of relying on outsourced cheap labour and transporting clothes around the planet. It would mean expressing our individual identities in a way that isn’t harmful to the earth. Eventually leading to a few fashion CEOs only profiting off the hard work and exploitation of many. Fashion brands wouldn’t be profit-driven businesses but collectives, where each person reaps the reward of their labour.