Cheap chain stores like Target, Old Navy, H&M, or Forever XXI were once a niche market but thanks to the rising cost of living, cheap fashion is on the rise.
How many times have you walked into a store with the intentions of buying one pair of pants and walk out with three bags full of clothing? Cheap clothing retailers were once unfashionable but thanks to new technology, low-priced chain stores are breaking through the barrier.
Retailers such as H&M, Forever XXI, and Zara are the founders of fast, low-cost fashion. Since equipment is modernized, speedy, and easy to use, retailers are taking advantage of third world countries, such as China and Bangladesh, because of the low manufacturing and exporting costs, as well as little to no environmental or working standards.
So what’s the catch?
As everything does, fast fashion comes at a price. Although we are led to believe that the low prices are saving us money, we are ultimately sacrificing our earth. We live in a high-speed world and recently disposable purchases have widely replaced long-term investments. Before technology, our world was simple and custom and as society got smarter and technology grew larger, our personability to one another began to dwindle.
Because trends are constantly changing many of the fast fashion garments that aren’t used but have been produced are waste. This means that thousands of fabrics, dyes, water, and energy are wasted and harming the environment for no reason. These cheaply made garments cannot be recycled or sold in thrift shops due to low quality, so they are forced into landfills.
Not only is this growing market bad for the environment, but the quality of the garments are not what they use to be. Basically you are spending $10 on a shirt every month, when you can buy one shirt at $30 for the year. This way of thinking is because of the recent recession; consumers are cautious and have since been looking for deals that will save money. Retailers have noticed this and are catering to the their customer needs. Today, quality has become an option rather then a requirement and damaging our atmosphere is inevitability.
As of this year, we as consumers are disposing of 1 million pounds in textiles a year. In addition to the landfills being filled with toxins and non-biodegradable waste, rivers and water sources that are used for both fashion and for the developing country water supply are being largely polluted. Approximately 82 million tons of fiber is being produced every year, world wide, to feed our inexpensive garment addiction. This is being made possible by massive North American companies in countries that have little to no environment standards, to keep costs low and production rates high.
So why is it when we have an event or somewhere to go we often hear ourselves saying “I have nothing to wear!” The convenience that these massive clothing retailers bring us is more then what we could ever imagine. The fact that we are being catered to and offered fresh, new, styles of clothing, more then twice a season, for almost less then $20 a garment, is unimaginable but consequentially in demand. Our society thrives on impulse and these cheap buys leave the customer feeling good about the little amount of money spent and has them coming back for more. This feeling of euphoria is not only brought on by fast, cheap fashion, but anything that goes our way or whenever we like something. When something good happens to you, you eat something amazing, or save a few bucks, it leaves a smile on your face and you start craving more.
Are you willing to pay higher costs for garments that are offered at cheap chain stores? And would your answer be different if your country were where the harmful factories were?
Green products are slowly trending in North America and are being made into reusable bags. And although this is a start, we must still work harder to protect our world because it is the only one we have. The North American governments are working towards cleaning up the pollution being produced within their countries, but are not working hard enough to standardize environmental costs as well as working conditions in the third world countries that their leading manufacturers are outsourcing to.
By being conscience of these factors and making a decision that you feel good about in the end is what really makes you look and feel good while you are wearing these items of clothing. As we all know beauty is only skin deep
In the end it is your ethical decision as to what you chose to do, but if you do onto others, as you would like done onto you, sour society would be much happier and so would our earth!