To capitalize on current trends, fast fashion refers to clothing designs that migrate quickly from the runway to retailers. Styles seen on the runways during Fashion Week or worn by celebrities are regularly incorporated into the collections. Fast fashion helps ordinary people to get their hands on the hottest new look or the next great thing for a reasonable price.
Fast fashion grew in popularity as a result of cheaper, faster manufacturing and shipping technology, greater customer demand for current patterns, and higher consumer purchasing power—particularly among young people—to meet these instant-gratification desires.
Simply put, fast fashion is a design, manufacturing, and marketing strategy that focuses on producing large quantities of garments in a short amount of time. In order to offer low-cost styles to the end consumer, fast fashion clothing manufacturers uses trend replication and low-quality materials (such as synthetic fabrics).
Understanding Fast Fashion
Clothing shopping used to be considered a social occasion. Fashion shows, which exhibited new collections and clothing lines several months before they appeared in stores, would provide the style-conscious a sneak peek at what was to come.
However, in the late 1990s, this began to shift as shopping became a form of entertainment and discretionary clothes purchasing rose. Enter fast fashion: low-cost, stylish knock-off garments that made customers feel as if they were wearing the same fashions that "walked the runway" or were sported by an attractive entertainment.
Fast fashion is made possible by fashion retailers' supply chain management (SCM) advances. Its goal is to produce low-cost clothing quickly in response to (or ahead of) rapidly changing consumer demands. Consumers, it is said, demand high fashion at a low price. While the clothes are frequently sloppy, they aren't meant to be worn for years or even several times.
Fast Fashion's Human and Environmental Impact
All aspects of fast fashion—trend replication, quick production, low quality, low pricing—have a negative influence on the environment and the individuals who work in the garment industry.
Toxic chemicals, harmful colors, and synthetic materials used by brands like Boohoo, for example, seep into water supplies, and 11 million tons of clothing are discarded each year in the United States alone. These garments, which are full of lead, insecticides, and a slew of other toxins, rarely degrade. Instead, they end up in landfills, where they release pollutants into the atmosphere. Fast fashion's carbon footprint rivals that of industries like air travel and oil.
Fast fashion has an impact on the health of both customers and garment workers, in addition to the environment. Benzothiazole, a carcinogen associated with a range of malignancies and respiratory disorders, has been found in today's apparel. Because our skin is the body's greatest organ, wearing these shoddy garments might be hazardous to our health.
According to a 2020 article on Global Edge, a Michigan State University business reference site, "the benefits of fast fashion are clear: increased consumer spending, increased profits, and the consumer satisfaction of being able to participate in a trend almost immediately after seeing it in magazines or on their favorite celebrities." "On the other hand, fast fashion produces a host of issues that make it more problematic than beneficial... This business contributes to global warming, pesticide pollution, and vast trash generation." Workers are also mistreated and put in danger as a result of fast fashion's overall desire for speed and cost-effectiveness, as the report pointed out.