Globally, stores like H&M, Zara, and Forever 21 have become household names over the past decade and that was thanks to their ability to produce runway-inspired pieces for the mass market in just a few weeks, and at affordable prices.
These global brands and retailers who stock these products constitute the fast fashion industry. And, companies operating in this sector are working on a global scale and earn large profits. For instance, Zara has a large team of designers who create about 10,000 new styles each year and they have been well received by consumers globally. In contrast, a boutique designer may have the ability to only produce 50 to 100 pieces in a year, but with significant attention paid to detail and quality of the product.
Adverse impact of fast fashion
And, while fast fashion can benefit budget conscious consumers and new designers can appeal to a larger customer base, there are some drawbacks as well. For instance, fast fashion has contributed to a lack of authenticity in new collections and resulted in quality problems in some cases. And, the CEO of Topshop, a leading fast fashion company, also admitted to the need to reflect on the production model for trendy and inexpensive clothing.
With such a short product lifecycle and lower overall quality standards, these pocket-friendly items often last for a short time and can create problems regarding their disposal. It is no surprise that the fashion industry produces about two million tonnes of waste, 2.1 million tonnes of CO2, and uses 70 million tons of water. And, on top of this, two million tonnes of clothing ends up in landfills within a year or two, and additional details can be accessed on this video link, Click here.
With a growing awareness of these issues, many designers are determined to change business practices. After almost two decades of fast fashion dominated marketplace, three hundred retailers have agreed to participate in the sustainable clothing action plan. This includes producing, selling, and disposing of waste in ways that are not detrimental to the environment, and in addition, retailers also pledge to work only with countries that enforce strict labor fairness regulations.