Our modern-day culture is all about that perfect outfit to get featured in an Instagram post. The lifestyle lived today is almost impossible to keep up with as fashion trends come in and out which is how fast fashion was born. Fast fashion is a series of chain retailers that take the concept of runway looks and turn them into their own garments for a wider audience. It has become so popular because these companies are more affordable than knock-off designer brands such as H&M, Zara and Fashion Nova.
In “The Patriot Act” with Hasan Minhaj, a Netflix series that brings light to a discussion about politics and modern culture through comedic relief, he talks about these industry issues with an episode called “The Ugly Truth Of Fast Fashion”. Minhaj mentions how legacy brands release massive amounts of clothes but within few seasonal releases where they take months creating collections and treating fabrics. The method these fast fashion brands have outsmarted luxury brands is with using quick response manufacturing. This idea is to knock off ideas as they come out and keep raw materials on board and will only continue to produce more if the public is in high demand of a particular piece.
Knock off items have become one of the key success tips for fast fashion brands as they manage to stay on top of trends. Technically, it is legal for them to do so since resembling designers differ from being considered as counterfeit. The idea of this can become frustrating to some designers since people can purchase these items without them having to be from their high-retail brand. Back in 2019, Kim Kardashian took to Twitter to call out Fashion Nova after creating a dress that looks almost identical to her one-of-a-kind vintage Mugler dress.
Kardashian went on a tweet spree stating she will not leak anymore looks as she does not support what these brands are doing. Typically, VALLEY stands behind a Kardashian decision but regular college students cannot afford the same brands celebrities buy from. So besides ripping off designer brands—is there any true damage being done?
The simple answer is yes. There is a lot behind that cheap priced article of clothing that is worse than one would believe. Synthetic fabrics that are used in fast fashion clothes such as polyester, nylon, and spandex use almost 342 million barrels of oil a year. These fabrics go through dying, processing, finishing which uses toxic chemicals that often get poured into rivers by local villages such as the Citarum River in Indonesia. These items are made in sweatshops which are factories that unpay workers and have poor working conditions.
Most of the time, these companies produce so many clothes that make things go out of style way faster. This creates people to constantly get rid of their clothes. There is a false perception that someone’s trash can be another’s treasure because even when clothes are donated, if charities can not find anywhere to give them they end up being sold to buyers in the developing world. There is such a large abundance of clothing purchased per year that many items still sit in landfills in these different countries.
The way to help stop putting clothes to waste is to try and wear them longer. Invest in pieces that staple items and will last a long time in your closet. Things like denim jeans and good quality jackets are almost always in style. Try to see the value in every item you purchase instead of an impulse buy.
Show us some of your most fashionable fits for VALLEY’S Fit Check Friday! Tag or DM us your submissions @VALLEYmag on Instagram.