With more fashion consumers seeking environmentally-friendly clothing, diverse designs and a healthier body image for the masses, the fast fashion industry is turning its wheels and churning out designs and products that the people would want.
However, this does not mean that the bigger brands are completely onboard with this more consumer friendly (instead of profit-friendly) arrangement.
This industry – with big names like Zara, H&M, Forever 21 and Uniqlo etc. – has maintained a system for the past few decades. But with their focus mainly on the current changing trends and massive PR campaigns, the truth is that the industry has slipped a few secrets through the cracks, on how they maintain their business while handling the trends in the industry.
Here are some details on the intricacy of this industry’s workings.
There’s a reason why denim is popular one week and unpopular the next. Large retailers like Zara and H&M do not just focus on the two major fashion seasons each year. Rather than just a Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collection, these companies now present new designs for 52 micro-seasons, with the goal to have consumers buy as many garments as possible per week
According to Elizabeth Cline’s book Overdressed: the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion; companies like Topshop introduce 400 new styles each week on their website, deliberately setting the customers to spend more to stay with the current trends.
And that’s second to oil!
The textile industry is a major culprit for environmental destruction, mainly due to excess water consumption and waste disposal. Often, companies that are not able to sell their stocks either destroy them or throw them away, which only add to the burgeoning landfill crisis.
And since textiles take up to 200 years to break down, the long-term effects cause even more damage to the environment.
While that does seem like good news—since it creates jobs for more people—the truth is that working conditions in countless factories are quite unsafe, mostly because finances are not directed towards employee comfort.
Sadly though, in many cases, companies are not even aware of the conditions in those outsourced factories, until it is brought to their attention.
And even then, no substantial changes are made.
It’s no secret that fast fashion brands aren’t that big on quality.
With an ocean of clothing being produced every month, their focus isn’t always on providing quality. Instead, companies put a small markup on their stock, and earn their profit by flooding the market with cheap clothing. And that translates to more trouble for us.
On average, Americans discard 68 pounds of clothing. However, in such instances, recycling companies like Whitehouse and Shapiro are working around the clock to present masses with the best places to donate, so those clothes can be of good use.
Being a conscious consumer is important. By understanding methods and techniques of fast fashion, we can start a movement for independent and environmentally conscious designers.