The Environmental cost of Fashion has increased due to the ‘Fast Fashion’ Culture of Cheap, Trendy Clothing that doesn’t Last Long

Ask someone to visualize pollution and one would witness a wide range of responses – ranging from oil spills and coal power-plants to smog and plastic waste. The environmental cost of fashion has increased exponentially during the ‘fast fashion’ culture – cheap, trendy clothing that doesn’t last long, are popular. Brands are increasing the number of collections they produce per annum while consumers are buying more clothes than they need. The result? Barely-worn clothes ending up in landfills and over 50% of fast fashion products are disposed within a year.

At this rate, by 2050, the fashion industry could use up over a quarter of the carbon budget to limit the global temperature increase to 2-degrees Celsius. If the status quo continues, the world is headed for disaster. The fashion industry needs to move away from a fast fashion mindset to one of thoughtful production and consumption.

With a sudden decline in consumer demand due to the COVID19 pandemic, it is no surprise that many brands have faced losses and are unable to sell their existing inventory. However, it is the garment workers who have paid the heaviest price for the decrease in demand. Dozens of global brands have cancelled orders to factories in the developing world – Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Cambodia, among others – largely without any financial penalty. This means that the garment workers have not received wages for months. 

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