Today with mass media and pop culture it is no doubt that Fast Fashion has been making its way to top headlines. With incredible deals such as 5-dollar shirts and 10 dollar shorts it can be extremely difficult to resist such offers in international fashion chains. However, most consumers are unaware of the environmental and humanitarian crises that are associated with this massive craze.
According to Dictionary.com, Fast Fashion is “inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends”. Instead of sticking to the previous four-season outfit patterns, Fast Fashion has created an opportunity for numerous styles and categories to emerge within the seasons. These patterns are evident through the constant alternation in styles every two weeks within local businesses.
Joonie Park, a student at Crescenta Valley High School exclaimed, “I first learned about this issue in my environmental science class last year. I think it’s astonishing that many teens are not exposed to the shocking truth about the clothes they wear.” Park further stated that “I believe that it’s important to raise awareness on this issue by informing peers about the dangers of the booming industry on the environment. The past couple of months, I have shared my knowledge with my close friends who have then shared the same information to their circles. It’s no doubt that the word is getting out quickly.”
Similarly, student Crystal Lee revealed, “I never knew that one new cotton shirt could be produced through 50 gallons of water in a third world country. I can’t believe we are letting this happen. We are slowly destroying our resources with our purchases. I hope more individuals would consider secondhand shopping from local thrift stores and try creating capsule outfits.”
Not only does Fast Fashion have an alarming effect on the environment’s resources but most fast fashion chains use sweatshops or manufacturing houses with poor conditions and inadequate pay. The most famous case of modern-day human trafficking for cheap labor is the El Monte Thai Garment Slavery Case where more than 70 Thai immigrants were found working 10 hours a day and locked up in a garment factory on August 2,1995.
This event sparked a widespread investigation to control the spread of inhumane labor usage in which 77 Los Angeles factories were guilty of paying less than 6 dollars an hour in 2016.
It is no doubt that the Fast Fashion Industry will not stop any time soon with heavily mediatized trends and consistent fads. It’s up to us, the consumers, to fight for change and protect our environment amidst climate change and global warming. It is our duty to protect the rights of individuals who are stripped of their rights in order to make minimal living wages producing clothes in unhealthy environments.
Consumers should become more conscious of their decisions to buy the newest clothing lines and cheap deals on national holidays. Change starts with us. Change starts now.
Caroline Kim, Grade 11
Crescenta Valley High School