But a few years ago the term fast fashion was coined, & stores like Forever 21, H&M, & Zara were attacked for producing cheap copies of trendy designer looks which contributed to quick turn-around, throw-away styles. Then came the collapse of the Rana Plaza Building in Bangladesh in 2013, killing 1,137 garment workers & leaving over 200 more missing. This tragedy led H&M, Zara, & more than 50 other western companies to sign The Bangladesh Factory Safety Accord, a legally binding treaty to help finance fire safety and building improvements in the factories in Bangladesh.
But are companies also securing garment factory buildings in China, India, & other countries? Are they treating their workers well? Almost all retail clothing--not just fast fashion--is made overseas.
Some feel fast fashion creates another problem: mass consumption. In a recent article in The Guardian "Why Fast Fashion Is Slow Death for the Planet" Lucy Siegle, author of To Die For, demonstrates that most women buy more clothes than they ever have before--from "micro trends" to accessible luxuries: "You now demand roughly four times the number of clothes you would have in 1980."
Siegle claims we buy weekly & without long-term convictions, & we buy because we're persuaded by marketing schemes that present a false sense of scarcity or exclusivity: "a pervasive fear that if you pause for thought, the opportunity to bag that affordable version of a catwalk sensation will be snatched from you forever." Zara is the leader in this type of marketing, says Siegle.
Most also say that fast fashions are cheaply made--that you can wear an item just once, wash it, & it literally falls apart. Has this been your experience?
I've had mixed results. I have seen poor quality in some items I've purchased, but others have lasted me for years.
Here are some examples:
I bought these tops around 2009
I think this boho style has gone out, but I wore this top to death when I first got it, & it held up pretty well (a little faded now?).
I haven't shopped much from Forever 21 lately because it takes too long to find something right for me in the stores, & I think the prices are too high online.
In general, I take careful care of my clothes, & I circulate many different pieces, so most of my clothes last a long time.
l do buy a lot of clothes, though I think I always have. I also return a lot, especially when the quality seems shoddy or when something's not perfect for me. I am swayed by the trends, but mostly I buy classic pieces--I wear basically the same styles I've always worn.
I do care about people working in sweatshops to make my clothes. I'd like to see more info about the labor practices of individual retailers in overseas factories. I question if the higher-priced clothing is made in better conditions than the lower-priced merchandise.
I still have very little disposable income for clothes, so I'll probably continue to look for deals--clothes that cost less than $20--in domestic & overseas stores. I also buy a lot more frequently from eBay & ThreadUp online consignment store these days.
What about you? What's your relationship with fast fashion? Have your clothes held up that you bought at Forever 21, Zara, & H&M? Do you boycott those stores or are you considering doing so? How do you feel about fast fashion & the fashion industry in general?