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Is a Change in the Fast Fashion Industry for a Clean Environment Achievable?

Updated: Dec 26, 2022

The reason why some fast fashion companies still operate without taking ethical action

As a big lover of fast fashion, I was always interested in how fast fashion operates as an immense supply chain. Recently, however, I realized that the mass production of fast fashion and increasing garbage from it contribute to crucial environmental issues.

Since I recently wrote an essay about 'fast fashion and its environmental impacts for a spring break school assignment, today I would like to explore why some fast fashion companies still do not take action for a clean environment. I assume that most companies make good use of customers' low awareness of the existing problem.

1. The LOW AWARENESS of the immense effects of fast fashion on the environment for consumers

From a questionnaire asking 50 people from Gen Zs to Gen Xs, more than half of the respondents, such as 58%, knew of the disadvantageous effects of fast fashion on Earth. However, about 40% did not know about the problem at all.

2. Fast fashion products are CHEAP, AFFORDABLE & REASONABLE

Because customers can receive trendy items at affordable prices, most people who know about the issues of fast fashion on the environment continue to buy products from fast fashion companies.

3. LOW INTENTION for customers to take actions

From my survey, only one respondent was earnest about the problems of fast fashion, and she has been avoiding fast fashion stores that are without sustainable actions.

These 3 factors are the main reasons why fast fashion companies without remarkable sustainable actions still exist today: they analyze and utilize customer behavior and their low intention to help save the Earth and decide not to put so much effort into creating sustainable items. Most fashion companies, such as H&M, Zara, and Bershka from Inditex group, and online-based Shein, have created their own goals to reduce their environmental effects on society. Nonetheless, although the impacts created from their production have decreased, there is no tremendous change in the statistic that they have been effective.

From these perspectives, a complete transformation in the fast fashion industry to install ethical fashion is less likely achievable within a few years. However, there have already been many fashion stores that weigh focus on sustainability. If we consumers change our attitude and start buying from ethical stores more, existing fast fashion companies without enough action now may also put efforts to improve their operational system.

Next week, I plan to look into a specific company/start-up that is successful. Please feel free to share suggestions with me!! Thank you :)


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