Fast Fashion and the People Behind the Scenes
And we are back with more facts on fast fashion! If you want to catch up on our fast fashion posts, so far we’ve talked about Fast Fashion vs Slow Fashion and Fast Fashion’s Impact on the Environment.
It’s not easy to find out what happens behind the scenes of how fast fashion is made, especially when it comes to the people who make the clothes. Not every fast fashion brand ignores human rights. However, there’s often a lack of transparency. When there’s transparency about the process, it adds trustworthiness. Companies who talk about their whole process and the people behind the scenes give a solid nod that they’re heading in a good direction.
There are over 40 million garment workers in the world today with the vast majority working in developing countries. More than often, protective rights don’t exist and countless horror stories have come from these environments. Fast fashion’s model of cheaply priced clothing demands low-cost labour, making fast fashion one of the lowest-paying industries in the world. Often working 14 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week, garment employees are working in toxic environments where they regularly face abuse, sexual harassment, and are paid under a living wage. Due to poverty, many are trapped in their jobs. Speaking out about the working conditions can be just as dangerous for them.
Fast fashion has not acted as mama earth’s friend and the toxic chemicals used are especially harmful to anyone working in the industry. Textile workers are more vulnerable to health problems due to the constant exposure to toxins used. From pesticides in the cotton industry to formaldehyde to prevent mildew and wrinkling during shipping, there is an increased risk of cancer and other terminal illnesses.
Even though it’s 2020, child labour isn’t a thing of the past. According to the International Labour Organization, 11% of the global population of children are engaged in child labour. Often big brands are employing children and they don’t know about it. The fashion supply chain is so complex it’s easy for details to go unseen. Tackling a subject like child labour is complicated. Where there is extreme poverty, there’s desperation. This leaves many vulnerable to being trapped in dangerous working conditions and being paid less than what they can live on.
This is an uncomfortable reminder that our clothing choices have a global impact. Our society is disconnected from knowing who makes our clothes and there’s no guarantee with fast fashion that the people behind the scenes are being treated humanely. It’s up to us to decide what kind of future we want for the fashion industry. The facts of fast fashion are overwhelming but we have the power to demand change by how we spend our money.
We can empower the lives of millions just by our fashion choices.
- Say yes to slow fashion—Invest in timeless, quality basics that will last!
- Take extra care of the clothing you have—Pay extra attention to washing instructions and keep learning new ways to get out stains and mend tears.
- Keep the conversation going—Talk about the benefits that slow fashion has on people, the environment, and your wallet.
- Focus on the good things that are happening in the fashion industry—spread the word about the sustainable, ethical brands that you love. (Take a peek on how to refer your friends and get some high-fives from us!)
“Clothes aren’t going to change the world. But the people who wear them will.”
Here’s to creating change together!
Written By Jade Paxton for FRANC