The Environmental Cost of Fast Fashion

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Sustainability is the new trend. Almost every industry across the globe has switched over to the path of sustainability. Naturally, the fashion industry is following the same way.

There is a massive shifting paradigm in the fashion industry that suggests designers and users both shift to sustainable fashion trends including the use of organic cotton, bio-friendly clothing fabrics, natural colors. Many leading global brands realized that the environment is suffering immensely in the course of fulfillment of our greed.

Now, what was the need to adopt sustainability as the primary goal of the fashion industry? The need was to leave less toxic footprints on the earth and create less pollution.

Let us first understand the concept of fast fashion, and then we can realize the various toxic effects it poses on our environment and why we should abstain from it. We all know that the entire world is living for fashion and pictures these days. At least once a day, we think of posting status updates or a selfie on the social media platform.

Not even one day of our life passes without posting a picture of ourselves on Instagram. What we hate is, to repeat clothes. Every fashionista makes it a point never to post two images in the same clothes. This show-off of ultra glamour is leading us towards the new trend of fast fashion.

The Environmental Cost of Fast Fashion
The Environmental Cost of Fast Fashion

Fast fashion centers around the frequent arrival of new collections, and to maintain the equilibrium, these collections evolve fast and involve low cost. The newly evolving dresses are inspired by celebrity styles and the featured dresses in various ramp walks. But if we think from the perspective of the environment, fast fashion trends are venomous for the environment.

You can imagine the fast fashion policy as an ensemble of numerous factors. The primary goal of fast fashion is to cut down on the cost of production and time of production so that new styles can evolve now and then.

So, in this extraordinarily fast journey of the fashion items from the production house to the store floor, the environment becomes the scapegoat and the easiest to sacrifice. The environment won’t speak up for itself, and that is why we are so inclined to exploit it maximally.

Fast fashion policies impose a severe threat to the environment. The old clothes we dump off die to their style expiry accumulates to form a considerable amount of waste on the earth’s surface. Fast fashion means every component needs to evolve at a faster rate.

This leads to the development of new modes of coloring, printing, and designing that uses the considerable use of toxic materials, chemical dyes, and innumerable hazardous components to make the clothes look chic and stylish. All the vibrant, popping colors and alluring fabric finish in the latest trendy clothes are achieved by the immense use of harmful chemicals.

Dyeing techniques involved in fast fashion technology pose severe negative impacts on the environment. The colors used are potentially hazardous. Many of these chemicals are effective agents of bioaccumulation and biomagnification.

When you dump such clothes after a couple of uses to switch over to new and trendy clothes, the toxic material from these fabrics gets accumulated in the environment and incorporated within the food chain.

Since these are all complex chemicals, they do not get metabolized by the living organisms in the food chain, and their quotient of harmfulness increases with every successive trophic level and leads to the severe disruption of the food chain, death of innumerable organisms. Most of these hazardous materials are also carcinogenic.

When you eat such living organisms and plants from the nearby areas, you become part of the hazard loop. Using clothes made of polyester and microfiber can increase the level of plastic in the environment when washed or dumped.

Most of the components of such fabric are non-biodegradable and pose a serious threat to the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The pesticides and chemicals used to grow the fiber plants for such fast fashion fabric are equally responsible for causing environmental pollution.

So, can you imagine how our will to wear new dresses every day and our greed is proving to be vicious for the environment and the strongest boomerang for us?

Clara Trilling
Clara is a Parisian fashionnista Living in Dubai

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