How Fast Fashion is Killing Us


Summertime is quickly approaching! And to prepare for that warm weather teens all across the country have their Shein, Zara and H&M shopping carts full and ready to buy their new summer wardrobe at those low retail prices. 

Every day teens across the country spend money at fast fashion corporations such as the few listed above, but do they ever stop to think about how purchasing from and supporting these brands affects the environment or the people actually producing these clothes?

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve fallen victim to shopping at fast fashion corporations many times before in my life, but it’s due time that we take a step back and look at how this seemingly harmless shopping is affecting our world. 

Fast fashion is the second largest polluting industry in the world, right behind the oil industry. Everyday this industry pollutes the environment with greenhouse gas emissions, wastewater and uses an insane amount of energy to produce these clothes. 

This industry is also a main contributor to overconsumption, which is very harmful to the environment. According to, 57% of all discarded clothing ends up in a landfill where it is eventually burned, releasing even more harmful chemicals into the air. 

Beyond its effect on the environment, fast fashion production is also very dangerous for the underpaid people actually making the clothes we see in these stores. 

In 2013 the Rana Plaza, a fast fashion factory in Bangladesh, collapsed killing 1,132 people and brutally injuring well over 2,500 others due to unsafe working conditions. Many people that were killed in this accident were forced to work that day due to their jobs and livelihood being threatened if they didn’t work in obviously unsafe conditions. 

We can clearly see by this terrible disaster that the working conditions for fast fashion factory employees are extremely dangerous and even possibly life threatening. So why do we keep supporting these brands?

Yes, fast fashion stores can keep up with the microtrends that we’re all dying to get until TikTok moves onto the next trend within the week, but they can afford to keep up with these trends because they operate so unethically. 

The disregard for the environment and working conditions makes it possible for these corporations to keep up with these fast paced microtrends and offer them at affordable prices. 

However, it is important to keep in mind the harmful effects before buying that cute top that you will probably get rid of in a year. 

I understand that a lot of people shop fast fashion because it’s all they can afford. Most people can’t afford to buy all of their clothes sustainably, but that’s not the problem. 

Influencers and even just everyday people that can afford to shop sustainably, but instead spend their money on sites like Shein where they can do massive hauls of their packages on packages of new clothes are the problem. 

If you can afford to do a twenty item haul of fast fashion clothes on TikTok, then you can afford to shop sustainably. So it’s time we stop promoting fast fashion and overconsumption to the impressionable youth, and instead inform them on the harmful effects it carries.

So, next time you’re revamping your closet for the summer, take into consideration what you can do to shop sustainably or spread awareness about shopping sustainably.