Fast fashion is a part of the fashion industry where businesses copy high fashion and celebrity trends real fast and real cheap. The goal is to get the clothing or accessories out there, while fashionistas and influencers still care about them. Some big fast fashion brands like Shein are creating millions of garments and thousands of styles a day to keep up with high fashion. Yes, millions and thousands PER DAY. And since they’re creating so many styles at once, they’ll help us make room in our closets for new things by making us feel bad about the things we literally just bought but are now “outdated”.
And on top of poking at our insecurities, fast fashion clothing is usually made with low quality materials and toxic chemicals that end up polluting our water and air, and can also be risky to the workers making them.
Fast Fashion’s Impact on the Environment
The fashion industry is the second largest contributor to the world’s pollution. Producing one cotton shirt takes about 700 gallons of water, and 2,000 gallons for a pair of jeans. Synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester can take centuries to biodegrade. You don’t have to be a mathematician or scientist to know those numbers aren’t good.
Fast Fashion’s Impact on Human Rights
Aside from contributing to the acceleration of climate change, the mass production of clothing takes a huge toll on the people working to meet these high demands. One of the reasons companies are able to make their items so cheap is by not paying workers fairly and making them work in unsafe conditions. Someone else’s livelihood is a high price for cheap fashion.
What are some ways I can avoid fast fashion?
People usually say the way to avoid fast fashion is to consume less, but there are ways to keep on doing the things we love (like shopping) without contributing to climate change, slave labor or child labor.
- Buy from sustainable and small businesses like the ones on DoneGood.com. We’ve done the research to make sure our more than 120 partner brands are eco-friendly and paying and treating their workers well.
- Thrift or buy second hand clothing. An affordable way to not support the ever-changing fashion cycle is to buy clothes someone else no longer needs.
- Think of high quality pieces like Kyrgies slippers and Adalante’s made-to-order shoes as investments. They’re carefully made so they’ll be in your closet for years, and things like that never go out of style. Sometimes we need things by a specific date or we’re working with a strict budget, but making a mindful decision can save us more in the long run.
- Check out our Sale Page, discount codes and Rewards Program to help you save some dollars! We know sustainable and ethical shopping isn’t always the least expensive option, but we believe it should be affordable and accessible to everyone.
- Give your damaged clothing some lovin’ if you can. If it’s a few buttons that need to be replaced, or a hole that needs to be patched - try not to throw them away if they’re still wearable.
What stylish items can I buy instead of supporting fast fashion?
We really appreciate brands that create awesome products while taking care of their employees and our environment. Check out DoneGood’s eco-friendly partner brands that’ll have you looking good and doing good when you shop their collections!
- Terra Thread has super cute “on the go” products like fanny packs, laptop sleeves and toiletry bags, that are made in a Fair Trade Certified factory with natural and organic materials. A father-daughter duo teamed up to create products that take a stand against fast fashion, while also fighting to end hunger.
- Fair Anita’s fun and affordable accessories are handmade by women artisans around the world with recycled or upcycled materials. Aside from paying women fair wages, Fair Anita also provides health insurance and scholarships.
- Grab your fashion essentials (or Alpaca stuffed animals) while empowering artists in Peru when you add Indigenous’ handcrafted and organic items to your wardrobe. Artisans are able to invest in themselves and their community through these work opportunities.
- Brush off your fashion designing skills with The Good Tee’s natural DIY t-shirt kits and more organic, fair trade apparel. After learning about the devastating reality of suicide rates among farmers, The Good Tee was created raise awareness, support farmers and celebrate the makers.
- Stylish and comfortable shoes that are good for animals and people can be hard to come by, but not at SAOLA. Their vegan kicks are made with recycled and natural products, and even algae!
If you're looking for more alternatives to fast fashion, check out DoneGood's alternatives series!