impact de la fast fashion

the impact of fast fashion on the environment

Posted by INDIGITAL Collaborator on

As our need to consume increases every day, the earth pays the price.

Fast fashion, or fast fashion, has changed the way people buy and throw away clothes. By selling a huge amount of clothing, at reduced costs, fast fashion has become the dominant business model, increasing clothing consumption tenfold. And every day, millions of people buy clothes without considering the impact on our planet and our environment. From the growth of water-intensive cotton production, to the removal of untreated dyes from bodies of water, to low wages for workers in substandard workshops, fast-fashion has a high environmental and social cost.

According to a McKinsey report, the cheapest fast fashion items are thrown away after being worn just seven or eight times. Consumers now keep clothes for half as much as in 2000, which has led to a huge increase in waste generated by the fashion industry.

Social media is fueling consumerism on an unprecedented scale. For the digital generation accustomed to tracking new products on social networks, it is easy with the swipe of a finger to buy the outfit worn by someone you follow. Influencers are pushing fast consumption across platforms.

"We want a new look every time we go out. Once we post a photo of an outfit on Instagram or Snapchat, we usually don't wear it for several weeks," Ankita, a high school student, tells Media India Group when asked why he had to buy clothes so often.

Similarly, student Shreya Mandal tells us that “if brands like H&M, Zara, Forever 21, Shein are so popular, it's because they offer the latest at low prices. We also buy from them because our favorite influencers endorse them.”

Fast fashion is popular because it democratizes high fashion, doing away with designer labels and giving consumers a sense of affordable luxury.

But according to a McKinsey report, after oil, fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world. And this pollution increases in proportion to production.

In 2015, the garment industry was responsible for emitting 1.714 billion tons of carbon dioxide and used 141 billion cubic meters of water. Similarly, after agriculture, water-dye textiles have made industry the world's second largest polluter of clean water sources.

At the last G7 summit, French President and host Emmanuel Macron announced a fashion industry pact signed by 32 companies and 150 brands promising to reduce environmental impact. This pact marks the first serious large-scale step by a group of private sector companies to combat global warming and restore the planet's biodiversity. Unfortunately, these changes are slow and the “fast-fashion” industry still accounts for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. And this percentage is increasing.

But raising consumer awareness remains the key to driving change towards more ethical and sustainable fashion consumption. First, educate buyers to have an overview, including the environment and the people involved, before making any purchasing decision. But also to educate the young generation of designers on sustainable fashion and ethical practices in the industry. As summarized by Lucy Siegle, author and journalist in the documentary The True Cost, “Fast-fashion is not free. Someone somewhere is paying”.

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