Finley’s Feel on Fast Fashion

Finleys Feel on Fast Fashion

Finley Eggleston, Chief Photographer

Fast fashion is the accelerated trend cycle of clothing or brands that produce at high volumes. Well, what does that even mean? It’s really the business; the sooner the company can make you think something is out of style, the sooner they can sell you something new. Now the issue with this is that trending should not cycle this fast. I mean, you see some crazy print in the summer that everyone has and you just need it because you saw it on Tik Tok, and by next month it’s out of trend. The trend cycle is supposed to be a five to ten-year cycle, but trends are out in months, and micro-trends last weeks now. Microtrends are trends that rise quickly in popularity and fall even faster. Microtrends are much more common now because of social media.

Companies like Shein, H&M, Princess Polly, Adika, and even Urban Outfitters are prominent contenders to the issue of fast fashion. These companies are mass producing on micro-trends because the demand for cheap trendy clothes is huge. Everyone wants that one dress and that one pair of pants. This creates an endless cycle of waste, and most of these clothes can’t be restored or donated because of their poor quality. This produces mass waste in our landfills. Clothing takes over 200 years to fully decompose, and with that, the dye from the clothes and other chemicals goes straight into the soil. 

As bad as it is for the environment, the actual ethics of it is even worse. Sweatshop workers live in very crowded dormitories and do not have any benefits. Both where they work and live have serious dangers. Dust and lead poisoning are common, and contracting severe diseases is a considerable risk. Sweatshop workers’ average monthly pay is under 300 dollars which is not a livable wage. A huge misconception is that if it’s made in China, it’s unethical and made by underpaid workers in sweatshops. While this is true for many companies, it’s not always the case. 

Take a look at one of my favorite companies, Tunnel Vision. While their clothes are made in China, it’s still sweatshop-free and the workers get a livable wage. And on top of all that, the clothes are reliable materials that will last you years and years. The downside is the price of pants costing over $100 but shirts costing about $30.  Owner Madeline Pendleton talks about how she prices just enough to pay her employees a generous livable wage, and she gets paid the same amount. Most fast fashion stores are from Aliexpress which is a bulk clothing distributor that copies others’ designs and uses underpaid workers in sweatshops. One way to tell if a store is fast fashion is byprice, pants under $50 and tops under $30 is a significant sign of unethical labor.

The temptation to buy from fast fashion companies like Shien is rather tempting. But remember, those trendy pieces you have to get will probably be out of style sooner than you think. Instead, try to buy good quality ethical basics and try thrifting for the more trendy clothes that fit you and your personal style. It’s really more accessible than you’d think. Most trends are from past decades anyway, so try your luck at thrift stores or vintage stores. And the next time you find something really trendy you want, give it a week or two, then decide if you really want it. Most of the time, you’ll find something better.