Fast Fashion: Who’s to Blame?


Ethan Silva

Back to school display at Westgate Mall in Amarillo, Tx.

Fast Fashion provides today’s consumers with a broad variety of fashionable clothes at a low price point. The means in which these companies provide such prices has been a topic of heated debate, as fast fashion companies are responsible for a tenth of the world’s carbon emissions. Most of their stock produced ends up in landfills, and laborers work in intolerable conditions and are not paid livable wages. Some argue that consumers should be blamed for purchasing fast fashion, while others argue that the blame should be placed on the companies and their practices. 

The issue of fast fashion can be traced back to the unethical business practices of corporations and companies. 

The preceding reason as to why companies are primarily responsible for fast fashion is because not every consumer can avoid it. Many consumers cannot afford to buy ethically produced fashion. To combat this, fashion activists have been pushing consumers to thrift. Although this may seem like a viable option, it excludes some other groups of consumers. Thrifting is not size inclusive, requires excessive leisurely time, which many working consumers do not have, and is often not accessible to disabled individuals

Additionally, consumers should not be blamed for the immoral shortcuts that fast fashion companies make to maximize their profit. Affordable new clothes that are produced sustainably and ethically are not available to today’s consumers. Fast fashion companies have chosen to remain ignorant of the harm they cause to the environment and their laborers, as they continue to prove that capital is their ultimate priority. 

Lastly, the overproduction that fast fashion companies cause is ultimately what leads to overconsumption on the consumer’s end. Fast fashion companies produce a wide array of garments that often go out of fashion extremely quickly, leading to the creation of micro-trends. Micro-trends have normalized overconsumption and increased textile waste, as clothes are now often thrown away too quickly. The fast fashion industry has managed to drastically speed up trend cycles, forcing consumers to purchase more to keep up with current trends. 

If consumers were to blame for the consequences of fast fashion, then the only way to end fast fashion as a consumer would be to form a collective boycott; this is not a feasible solution for every consumer. 

Ultimately, companies and corporations that engage in fast fashion should be to blame for the consequences of fast fashion. The best way to put an end to the practices of fast fashion is to push for federal reform to regulate fast fashion companies and to not over consume or avoid fast fashion only if you have the means to do so.