On top of the chemical pollution, fast fashion also produces drastic amounts of textile waste. The amount of waste produced is staggering. The USA alone generates more then 15 million tonnes of textile waste. Whether it is the turnover from the shelves of giant clothing chains or turnover from the closets of individuals, fast fashion’s dynamic trends have created a socially acceptable excuse to trash perfectly usable clothing.
4. RESOURCE DRAIN ON OUR PLANET
The development of fast fashion has also made the garment industry socially exploitative. It has psychologically manipulated consumers through the use of “perceived obsolescence”. Perceived obsolescence is obsolescence that is based on appearance and style as opposed to functionality, and due to fast fashion’s ever-changing trends, textiles are going out of style at neck-breaking speeds. Just how fast are fashion trends changing today? According University of Georgia professor Laura McAndrews, there used to be four “seasons of clothing”, meaning new clothing was brought to store shelves four times a year, in accordance with the seasons of weather. But now there are as many as fifteen seasons of clothing every single year. Thanks to fast fashion, perceived obsolescence also dictates how consumers value themselves and others. Giant clothing chains count on the social shame that comes from wearing clothing that is out of style or perceived to be obsolete to drive consumers back into the store with every release of new collections.
From production to disposal, fast fashion has changed the way we think of clothing. It has been the cause of several changes to the garment industry. These changes have led to unpredictable and damaging effects on our society and environment. Under the influence of fast fashion, the garment industry has become one of the most environmentally unfriendly, resource intensive and socially exploitative industries globally.
Are the changes irreversible? Our closets of yesterday were filled with a modest amount wardrobe basics. Our closets of today are packed full of stylish clothes that we will soon grow tired of and toss out. What will fill our closets of tomorrow?
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