For more than 30 years now, whistleblowers and experts have been denouncing the problems caused by this over-consuming society. They launched the idea of a movement advocating a more reasoned and sober consumption. If these were more than marginal during years, we see today that consciences are awakening. The main actors in this escalation of consumption are the brands of what is called “Fast fashion”. This is materialized by brands that produce collections in quantity and on a much more regular basis than the conventional players in the fashion industry.
Fast Fashion works on a principle of almost weekly renewal of these collections at ridiculously low prices, thus promoting consumption and also channeling the desire for renewal among consumers.
It is an abandonment of the historical cadence which functioned on a principle of seasonality with about 4 annual collections articulated with the changes of seasons. The notion of trend then takes a completely different form. Previously, fashions could be anchored in the long term, they accompanied currents of thought, popular movements and in fact, were embedded beyond the seasonal issue. We think for example of the trend of the 20’s (or crazy years) or the Hippie movement in the 70’s.
To dress is usually a way to mark its will to identify itself with a movement, with a group or on the contrary the will to be detached from one. Today, this will to belong to a group is still here, it did not disappear, but the difference is that with the constant changes of collections in stores combined with the raise of social media, people feel an urge to buy the latest trend.
Fast fashion has understood this, and even more than that, it has initiated it. Today it can take less than a month from the creative process of a piece, to its production in industrial quantities, to the time it is put on the shelves in stores.
This way of consumption combined with the current manufacturing conditions, has every reason to alarm public opinion.
Firstly, with regard to water consumption, the textile industry is considered responsible for more than 20% of the pollution of drinking water due to dyes and washing products, dumped in nature. Not to mention the micro plastic particles present in synthetic fabrics, which end up polluting the oceans after each wash. The production of clothing, because of the materials used (cotton..), is very water intensive. 79 billion cubic meters of water is the estimate that has been produced by the water consumption of the textile industry in 2015.
Beyond water pollution, the industry is a major emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG). It is responsible for 10% of CO2 emissions in the world.
Fashion is a wonderful way to express yourself but people seem to forget that its main purpose is to keep you warm and covered. There are ways to express your personality without destroying our home planet.