Buy Less, Buy Better


Dana Hernandez, Staff Writer

Have you heard of or shopped from a fast fashion website? Fast fashion is inexpensive clothing which is usually overproduced by mass-market retailers due to the increase in popularity driven by celebrities. Their influence and marketing programs allow these businesses to continue to operate. Top Shop, Victoria’s Secret, Urban Outfitters, Fashion Nova, Boohoo, ASOS and Shein are all fast fashion.

Fast fashion contributes to environmental damage through 80 pounds of wasted clothing and textiles per person in the United States annually. Less than 11 percent of brands are implementing recycling strategies for their items produced.  It also produces 10 percent of all humanity’s carbon emissions. In addition, the fast fashion industry is the second largest consumer of the world’s water supply. When the textile clothing ends up in a landfill, chemicals such as dye can cause environmental damage leaching into the ground or our waterways.  Textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined. More than $500 billion is lost every year due to overproduction and the lack of recycling, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2017.

These businesses also tend to have exploitive and unsafe working conditions. Their staff is usually mostly women or children (especially in Asia), and offer little pay with few rights. From the Fashion Checker’s data this year it shows 93 percent of brands surveyed aren’t paying garment workers a living wage. Sixty-eight percent of fast fashion brands don’t maintain gender equality at production facilities. Their low pay and mistreatment allow manufactures like Europe and the U.S., keep their prices low.

How can we avoid this? It is important to remember to buy less and buy better. Become educated in this topic and know the brands you buy. There are other alternatives to finding cheap clothing like thrifting, vintage shops, second-hand consignments or Depop. It is important to take care of our one and only earth as well as, the people who live on it. So next time you think see a cute shirt you want to buy off Shein, think of how it affects our environment and those who made it.