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Top 5 Facts about Fast Fashion

VO: Lisa Yang
Script written by Noah Achod Just because the clothes are cheap doesn’t mean you should buy into the trend. You’ve probably heard of some dark secrets about fast fashion and to be honest you should think twice the next time you head to Forever 21 and H&M. Not only is there lead and hazardous chemicals on your clothing but fashion industry is the second most polluting industry on earth!

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Top 5 Facts about Fast Fashion

Trendy? Cheap? What’s not to love about inexpensive, yet cute clothes… right? Welcome to MsMojo and today we'll be counting down our picks for the top 5 facts about fast fashion.

#5: What is Fast Fashion?

In simplest terms, fast fashion is the answer to the cries of the contemporary consumer who fiends for the trendy pieces seen on the runway, sold for dirt-cheap. Put another way, if fashion's leading trendsetters were a gourmet meal at a fine restaurant, fast fashion would be left overs from McDonald's. However, fast fashion does serve its purpose. Just like how low prices draw customers to big-box stores like Walmart or Target, the low cost for current styles pulls people towards stores like H&M and Forever 21 over more upscale options. The quality may be iffy, but in style terms, it does offer a certain bang for limited bucks.

#4: There is Lead & Hazardous Chemicals on Your Clothing

This is not a drill! If you’ve ever bought something from virtually any fast fashion outlet, you run the risk of being exposed to lead. According to the Center for Environmental Health, some items are contaminated with more lead than the legal limit allows. And this comes after many companies pledged to reduce their use of heavy metals. “Whoa dude! Sick shirt,” can mean something completely different when you realize that many fast fashion outlets are selling clothing contaminated with toxins. So next time someone compliments that sick shirt of yours, remember it may actually be giving you lead poisoning.

#3: Planned Obsolescence Plays a Key Role in Overconsumption

While it seems more than a bit sinister, it’s a tough pill that we all need to swallow. Brands only care about making money and to keep you spending, the lifespan of your clothes and trends you're buying into are already predetermined– AKA are designed to go out of style as soon as possible. Along with that, while it seems like there are two seasons in the fashion world- Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter- there’s actually upwards of 50 per year. Like seasons, trends come and go, and yet retailers manage to keep bringing customers back to willingly throw cash at the latest hot style. What you’re wearing today could be considered so yesterday tomorrow.

#2: Some Working Environments Can Be Deadly

Unfortunately, your so-cheap-it’s-practically-free $15 sweater does come at a price. To sell clothing for that cheap, employees have to be paid barely liveable wages- often while also working in hazardous environments. You may be wondering how nobody has gotten in trouble for this, and that’s because most of the work happens overseas. Over 800,000 US jobs have been lost in the past decades because of the demand for cheap labour. The Savar building collapse in 2013 claimed over 1000 lives, but it did shed light on the issue, and led to people advocating for better working conditions. However, while harder to ignore, this is still a huge problem today.

#1: The Fashion Industry is the Second Most Polluting Industry on Earth

Fast fashion isn’t the only one to blame, but it’s one of the primary offenders when it comes to pollution. Because these clothes are made to go out of style quickly and to fall apart even quicker, the fast fashion industry becomes a major contributor to landfills, while also kicking off an endless cycle of manufacturing. Meanwhile, the industry is reliant on low manufacturing costs, which means production typically takes place in countries that are both powered by fossil fuels like coal, and have a very loose commitment to environmental issues. Additionally, more often than not, the fabrics used will be oil-derived synthetics, with their own manufacturing cycles and environmental impacts.

Do you agree with our list? What fast fashion fact shocked you the most? For more fashionable Top 10s and eye-opening Top 5s published every day, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.


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