Shopping for clothes used to be an occasional treat until clothes got cheaper, online shopping made it accessible, and trends come and go within 3-5 business days. TikTok has created this idea that everyone needs the latest hoodie, leggings, and pants and millennials are buying more than ever. But how could you blame them? The fast fashion industry has catered fashion to the younger generation by making it easier to shop through social media, making outfits cheaper than ever, and advertising to their emotions to convince them they need more clothes.
As consumers, we’re shopping faster and companies are producing faster, resulting in the abuse of natural resources and overworking employees. Fast fashion is a term used for companies that produce large quantities of clothing in a short time span. This is popular because businesses want to capitalize on the trends before others. Even though getting the newest, trendiest outfits for a cheap price seems great for consumers, in reality, corporations are hurting the planet. The impact of fast fashion is anywhere from drying up water sources to overproducing carbon emissions.
Fast fashion brands throughout our malls worldwide are, unfortunately apart of the global fashion crisis. These corporations are able to produce large amounts of fabrics; however, very often, they aren’t all purchased. The mass-produced discarded clothing is sent to the dump where it sits, and the harmful bleach and dyes are spread into the environment. Unfortunately, a lot of these effects are unknown to consumers or disregarded because of the ‘consumer culture’ that has been promoted in today’s society.
Environmental Impact of Fast Fashion
Fast fashion’s mass production creates 10% of the global carbon emissions, which is as much as the European Union, according to an analysis by the Business Insider. This high production of carbon emissions is assisting in the increase of greenhouse gases which are assisting in the increase global warming. This causes sea level temperatures to rise and polar ice loss which is destroying the ecosystems of so many animals.
Not only are the huge manufacturers releasing harmful gases, but they also use up water sources nearby. It takes around 20,000 liters of water to produce a t-shirt and jeans, according to Dressember. Now imagine how many people have 20-30 pairs of jeans and even more shirts. Furthermore, these factories use fresh water sources, but they contaminate the water sources with the dyes, bleach, and chemicals used to create garments. The fashion industry is one of the leading contributors that pollute clean water sources.
It doesn’t stop there. A lot of the clothing is made with synthetic fibers, including polyester and nylon. These fabrics do not biodegrade and find their way into the ocean. This negatively affects the animals and ecosystems in the ocean. Textile waste is adding to the amount of plastic sitting in the ocean. Fast fashion clothing often contains lead, chemicals, and pesticides, so when clothing is discarded, all of that is going into the environment and sitting on our skin. We would never voluntarily rub chemicals into our hands, so why would we wear them?
Fast Fashion Social Impacts
Recently the US Department of Labor has been on high alert due to the new, public evidence of forced and child labor in fast fashion factories. In 2018 they found evidence of this in Argentina, China, Brazil, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and so many more. Many factories of Zara, Nike, H&M, Shein, and other highly purchased brands are in one or more of these countries. Yet people are still buying and supporting these companies, and don’t realize they are enabling the big corporations to continue this treatment of their workers. The high demand for mass production of clothing has caused the working conditions to decrease. Factories in other countries often abuse their workers and often there are children running the machines.
However, we as shoppers, can help these underpaid and overworked employees by supporting local and small businesses that vow to have a positive impact. If there is no demand for fast fashion, these workers will be relieved of these working conditions. Ethical businesses are the future of the fashion industry.
We want our swimwear to improve the planet and inspire others to do the same. Our goal is to create non-toxic swimwear. Meanwhile, many of the other companies decide to use harmful dyes that are dangerous for the environment and not healthy for humans. However, by using natural fibers, the sustainability of our swimsuits will outlast the others. The natural fibers also create an elasticity that holds its shape and makes the swimsuit comfortable for long beach days. Beyond the swimsuit, by using natural fibers we avoid using and polluting our surrounding freshwater sources which us saving hundreds of ecosystems.
We are producing just enough products as we need. There is no need to overproduce clothing and then have a majority go to waste. Slow fashion also creates fair and respectful working environments, garments that last, and uses ethical materials. We are locally hand-making our swimwear to ensure less carbon emissions to do our part in slowing down global warming. We want to better the people making the clothes, the people wearing the clothes, and the environment people live in.
This is the founder, Brit B, and you can see her journey towards a natural fiber future on Instagram. She is determined to eliminate the toxins in fashion and create sustainable and healthy clothing. Beachcandy Swimwear wants to do better and bring light to the harm of fast fashion. Brit has mixed high-quality fashion with a minimalistic perspective to create swimwear that is way more than a pool party accessory. She is making an impact in the world of fashion. Beachcandy's mix and match beachwear combines sustainability, comfort, sexiness and confidence building all while being environmentally friendly. Choosing to wear natural fiber is a win for your body, environment, and people around you.
If fast fashion is slowed down, we would have less pollution created by factories, an increase in fresh water, better working conditions for employees all over the world, less waste that destroys healthy soil, and less waste flowing into our oceans. There is so much negativity that comes with fast fashion, but there is such a simple solution that helps slow it down.
As young women and men of the future, we need to make changes to save our planet. We need to push the fashion industry towards sustainable and organic clothing. If we stop supporting fast fashion companies, they will have no choice but to advance toward a more respected approach. The power is in our hands to take back our health and protect our home. The Earth needs us.
Written by Olivia Barger.
Follow BeachCandy Swimwear on Instagram