Wasting Away

This week I really learned about fashion and sustainability. I had never really given it much thought before the readings, and they actually inspired me to do more research on the topic. Fashion is a really big part of culture in the United States, there’s a constant demand for more new things and the industry has a hard time keeping up. The problem of sustainability comes with that inability to keep up. When I was researching the topic, I found something I, and many others are familiar with, and that’s the concept of fast fashion. Companies like Forever 21 and H&M are part of this “fast fashion” concept. The idea is that they churn out cheap and fashionable clothing, very quickly. The items get put up on the shelves and then are cleared out in sometimes as little as three weeks to make room for new items. This concept itself was not shocking as it made sense to me that companies would have to find a way to adapt to the ever-growing consumer demand in order to make money. What was shocking was what I read about the impact that this process had on the environment. A lot of these clothes are produced in unsafe working conditions across the globe, and when the clothing is cleared off of the shelves, they are slashed before they are thrown so that the clothing cannot be reused. This was troubling to read about because in class we had talked about solutions to this waste problem created by the fashion industry, and a lot of the solutions mentioned were related to donating and reusing the clothes. Companies that slash and dispose of their clothing are preventing that very thing from ever being able to happen. I had never looked into this process before this class, though I had known about the concept previously. One thing I did learn about it though is that it is very hard to avoid. The clothing at stores like H&M and Forever 21 may not be of great quality, and even though many people know about the concept behind the clothing, many will still continue to shop there because the prices are so low. I had never thought about this, as I gladly shopped there even after hearing about how detrimental it is on the environment strictly because of how affordable it was. I hope to continue reading about these types of situations, as I love to learn about problems and then trying to find solutions. The solution to the fashion industry waste may not be known yet, but the solution will be interesting to try and find.

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