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What Is Wrong With Fast Fashion?

Driven by convenience, availability and Instagrammable style at a fraction of the price — fast fashion has made its allure pretty clear. And yet, even after being aware of its negative impact, our toxic relationship with fast fashion is still going strong. Ahead, we expose some hard truths and bitter pills about the industry that will hopefully deter you from making that next fast fashion purchase. 

1. The use of synthetic fibres in fast-fashion will increase from 69% to 73% market share within the next 10 years, more than half of which is expected to be polyester. - Changing Markets Foundation (CMF)

2. People are buying 60% more clothes than 15 years ago, yet wearing them for half as long. - The Independent 

3. Some estimates suggest that consumers treat the lowest-priced garments as nearly disposable, discarding them after just 7 or 8 wears. - McKinsey & Co.

4. Despite popular belief, fast fashion doesn’t get donated but ends up being sold in third world countries like Ghana, where an estimated 40% of clothing in bales is immediately discarded as waste – either too worn or dirty to be sold – and then landfilled, burnt or dumped in rivers and water bodies. - Dead White Man’s Clothes Project 

5. H&M employs 1.6 million factory workers worldwide and none of them are earning a living wage. - The Cut

6. When the pandemic hit last year, fashion brands cancelled around £3billion of orders they had already placed with suppliers leaving 25,000 workers in Bangladesh jobless. - The Guardian 

7. An undercover investigation in 2020 concluded that workers at one of Boohoo’s supplier factories in Leicester were receiving as little as £3.50 an hour, despite the minimum wage being £8.72. - The Sunday Times

8. Textiles are the largest source of both primary and secondary microplastics, accounting for 34.8% of global microplastic pollution, with around 700,000 microfibres being released in every wash cycle. - Khaleej Times 

9. Approximately 92% of microplastic pollution found in samples from across the Arctic Ocean are synthetic fibres. Nearly 3/4 of them are polyester and resemble fibres used in fast fashion. - CNN

10. In total, up to 85% of fast fashion goes into landfills each year. That's enough to fill the Sydney harbour annually. - World Economic Forum


Fast fashion is cheap and convenient, but the environment and people that make those clothes are paying a heftier price than the one you received a great bargain for. The next time you find yourself making a fast fashion purchase, consider thrifting or second-hand shopping instead. 

In the meantime, ZAVI will continue to offer you sustainable clothes that outlive trends and that not only guarantee style but a clear conscience as well.

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2021-03-11

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