Without acknowledgment, most people, even myself, would think that the aviation and airline industry as a whole would release more carbon emissions than the fashion industry. But the fact is the opposite.
To make it clear, the report of ‘Fashion on Climate’ of McKinsey & Company, has proved that the fashion sector accounted for 2.1 billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in 2018, equivalent to 4 percent of the global total; compared to aviation industry occupied for 2.5 percent of global CO2 emissions in 2018 (Ritchie, 2020). FYI, carbon emission contributes to the GHG, which warms up the global climate that causes climate change.
This reality has led consumers like we got shaken and looked back to the habits we used to get hyped and obsessed with clothes on sales and affordable brands like H&M, Zara, Forever 21, Gap, etc. The fashion world always in the flow of producing and introducing new collections by seasons. You can get informed by watching designers releasing their latest Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collections annually. But let’s dive deeply into fast fashion, the factor that hardworking produces and changes their faces of new clothes weekly which causes dramatic consequences on the environment by their large-scale production, cheap and poor labor condition, and the interference of chemicals into the products.
How does Fast Fashion operate?
The simple reason why fast fashion brands always offered cheap, trendy design clothes is that they use cheap materials and labor costs in developing countries to turn out mass production of clothing with affordable and even surprisingly cheap prices.
This clothing usually has a short life cycle displaying in stores and ends up in landfills if they are not given a second chance of use. Obviously, to meet the demand for low-price clothing, developing countries are destinations for these brands to build up their factories or sign a contract with another factory party to produce the apparel. The flashy, dazzling clothes that we usually see and purchase often result from low-waged workers in an unsafe and poor workplace condition in developing countries. Here, from children to seniors, people of every age are involved in making cheap and low-quality clothes. They are forced to work long hours to produce as many clothes as possible to meet the demand of supplying and delivering products to stores worldwide.
The colorfulness of fast fashion brand’s clothing is the outcome of using toxic chemicals in producing apparel. Pesticides, dyes, additives, and stabilizers are used in large quantities to interfere to treat textiles to become colorful and qualified to the producers. After processing, the wastewater is sadly not purified and releases its pollution to the river, ocean which is sources of freshwater for human consumption and other activities. Time is ticking, and many factors are still damaging the Earth, and the fast fashion industry is one of them.
It is time to Aware, Stop and Change.
It is disappointing to hear, know, and see how cruel the fast fashion industry is making the same daily pattern that affects the ecosystem, human health, fairness and income, and many other aspects that fast fashion indirectly affects. For me, I have heard the truth behind this for so long and say no to giant retailers in fast fashion whenever I purchase clothes. Maybe you would think that it is just a piece of clothing that does not matter much, but behind that could be the effort and time spent by a little child trying to sew that piece of clothing under a polluted, poor condition factory in a developing country. He or she is supposed to be at school or playing sports with friends, not spending his time in such a place where he or she could die by overwork and exposure to hazardous chemicals used in producing clothes.
To the bottom line, more and more fast fashion brands should be unveiled their true face of immoral operation to let consumers realize how the truth behind pieces of clothes they usually purchase and use are traces of poor workers under severe working conditions. Moreover, irresponsible actions of this industry release to the environment are even more profound that damage the habitats of humans, botanic, and animals living on this Earth at the present and future. It is alarming for every business and consumer to realize and shift their habits to a more sustainable solution of clothing to the environment.