Fashion has been with us for quite some time – probably ever since we learned what clothes are. However, there is a new term going over in the fashion world – namely, fast fashion. What exactly is fast fashion, and how is it different from regular fashion? Well, we are about to find that out.
Explaining Fast Fashion
Fast fashion is the process of creating cheap yet trendy clothing at a fast rate in order to meet consumer demands. Fashion itself is fast in various senses: the trend changing is fast, the production of the clothing is fast, the decision to buy is fast, the delivery is fast, and the items are worn down fast.
Some view shopping second hand through online marketplaces like tech unicorn Poshmarl, as viable alternatives to Fast Fashion. One newer online marketplace, called Whatnot, allows for live shopping of vintage clothing.
The idea of fast fashion is to take samples and ideas from celebrity catwalks and turn them into cheaper pieces that could easily be sold at a high street store. Fast fashion gets the newest trends on the market at a rapid rate, so that consumers may buy them while they are “still hot.”
How Fast Fashion Started
In the past, fashion was quite slow. It took a fairly long time to source the clothing, and also a long time to create the clothes from scratch. Most of the clothing produced was hand-sewn – the process often took days, even months, but the final product was a qualitative one.
That being said, the Industrial Revolution came with new fancy tools – one of which was the sewing machine. Clothing became much easier and faster to make, ergo much cheaper as well.
By the time the ‘70s turned a corner, clothing became an expression form and new trends started popping all over. However, there was still a great distinction between high street and high fashion clothes, in that the former lacked the quality.
By the time the 2000s came around, low-priced fashion was reaching its peak. People started to shop online, and retailers such as Zara, H&M, and Topshop had conquered the high street. People now had access to pieces of clothing that looked like top high fashion brands but at a lower price and higher availability.
How Does Fast Fashion Affect Us?
Fast fashion plays on the idea that trends constantly change and that repeating your outfits makes you look “out of fashion.” If you want to remain relevant, then you must wear the latest trends, as soon as they come around. Fast fashion promotes overconsumption, as the pieces are often of a low quality, which means the consumers would have to buy clothing again in a short timeframe.
As people are buying more pieces of clothing at a fast rate, more and more worn-down clothing ends up in landfills. The cheap materials and dyes used to create fast fashion items contribute to the level of pollution in the world, and the high speed of the fashion adds to the environmental strain.
How Can You Identify a Fast Fashion Brand?
These key aspects characterize fast fashion companies and you should be on the lookout.
- There are countless looks that cover all the most recent trends.
- Almost no time passes between when a trend is first seen on the runway (produced by a prestigious fashion house) and when it hits mainstream stores in mass quantity.
- The product is made overseas. Offshore manufacturing uses underpaid workers who do not have the same rights and liberties that workers have in many Western countries.
- The material fibers of the garment are often low grade polyester or other synthetic blends. These fabrics are cheaper to produce than organic plant based materials. But they also don’t have as much longevity as many polyesters suffer from microfiber shredding.
The Bottom Line
Nowadays, more and more people are trying to be more environmentally friendly and buy quality as opposed to quantity. That being said, fast fashion is still quite popular, and the ready availability of the products at a low cost might suggest it will not go away anytime soon.