Why Fast Fashion Is Bad
By Nev Campos
In today’s society, fast fashion is everywhere. As author Elizabeth Cline said in Overdressed, “Fast fashion is a radical method of retailing that has broken away from seasonal selling and puts out new inventory constantly throughout the year.” The most popular store amongst American teenagers is most likely Forever 21 or H&M. These stores gain the most popularity for having new clothes on the rack every week or so, luring consumers into buying new styles.
Forever 21, for example, puts out new clothes daily, sells them for dirt cheap prices, and takes down the old clothes immediately. Their business model is designed to keep customers on their toes when it comes to the new styles, since they hop on the latest trend until it goes out of fashion. Their method of production comes at low cost since they exploit immigrant labor and hire them for below minimum wage in their DTLA factories, ensuring the highest profit.
Forever 21 is also infamous for ripping off haute couture and expensive brands, creating almost identical replicas of the runway styles of Gucci and shoes similar to Adidas. They also have stolen designs from internet-based artists and used them on their clothes. If they are not making copies of high fashion, they are creating clothes that seem as if they would be from very expensive and popular brands like Supreme, Thrasher, Yeezy, or Commes Des Garcons. Forever 21 has been sued multiple times, but has never faced real consequences, according to Cline.
Fast fashion is not only unethical, but also harms the environment with it’s large sweatshop-esque factories in both America and overseas. So next time you buy that shirt at Forever 21, remember that it was the hands of exploited immigrants who sewed that very garment with a stolen design only a few miles away in a sweatshop in Downtown LA.
Buying clothes from shops with ethically sourced materials and good mission statements is always a better option than shopping at corporate stores. You are not only helping someone’s small business, you also support ethical labor, creating jobs, and actually giving your money to a hard-working person, not a corporation.
Greenbox shop is a POC-owned online-based clothing store selling apparel with an activist message, and their prices are reasonable too! Other shops with ethically sourced materials are Patagonia (outdoor wear, more up in price range), Everlane, Karen Kane (plus-sized clothing made right in LA), and Alternative Apparel. While some brands may cost more, you’re paying for quality and you’ll feel good about an ethical buy.