Fast Fashion and Water Pollution

The fashion industry has largely changed to “fast fashion”, a model that provides cheap, rapidly changing, accessible and disposable clothing. Fast fashion is a term used by fashion retailers to copy or make similar designs from catwalks quickly to capture current fashion trends. The industry mass produces clothes in a matter of weeks, the clothes are made quickly using poor materials which is causing a large amount of unnecessary environmental damage and the child labour used to produce the clothing. Fast fashion has become the most successful in the fashion industry because it is very profitable. The industry mass produces clothes in a matter of weeks, the clothes are made quickly using poor materials. This is problematic because of the large amount of unnecessary environmental damage that the industry is causing.

The negative affect fast fashion includes water pollution, the use of toxic chemicals and increasing levels of textile waste. Vibrant colours, prints and fabric finishes are appealing features of clothing, but many of these are achieved with toxic chemicals. Textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of clean water globally. Polyester is the most popular fabric used for fashion. When polyester garments are washed in household washing machines, they shed microfibres that add to the increasing levels of plastic in our oceans. Viscose is type of fibre made from natural sources such as wood. About 33% of the viscose in clothes comes from ancient or threatened forests and the process uses a huge amount of waste.

As much as 70% of the harvested wood is dumped or incinerated. Just 30% ends up in the garments that we wear. When factories are in a race to provide cheap fashion fast and pressure to reduce cost and the time it takes to get a product from design to shop floor means children are often involved in the supply chain. Children work in dangerous and dirty jobs that deprive them of a childhood and their education, 73 million of these child labourers are between five and 11 years old. The ILO (international labour organization) estimates that at least 6 million children are in forced labour, with making textiles and garments to satisfy the demand of consumers in Europe, the US, and elsewhere.

Fast fashion has changed the fashion timeline from four seasons to five or more mini seasons a year. To supply the trend many clothing companies are making cheap and more disposable clothing. This means people are expecting to pay less for their clothes and also to have new items of clothing every two weeks. Due to demands, fast fashion brands overproduce clothes rapidly to meet the need of the consumers looking for cheap clothing. While consumers are happy with the cheap clothing, they don’t realise the impact of fast fashion. In conclusion, the fast fashion industry is slowly ruining our planet