Fast fashion brands like Zara, H&M, Gap, and Shein capture the latest fashion trends, making them accessible to a wide consumer base at affordable prices. Shein, in particular, has adopted the Ultra Fast Fashion model, becoming the largest fashion retailer globally.
While Gap launches 12000 different products a year, H&M launches 25000 items and Zara pushes out 35000 different items in the same time. Shein pitches a staggeringly 13Lac different items every year!
The fast fashion industry produces over 100 billion clothing items every year. It is estimated that 92 million tonnes of clothing ends up in landfills every year ie 1 garbage truck every second!
This leads to massive environmental consequences such as significant carbon dioxide emissions surpassing those of the global shipping and air travel industries combined. Additionally, the textile industry relies on numerous chemicals and pesticides, while the production of a single t-shirt consumes 2,700 litres of water.
The low prices of fast fashion raise concerns about fair wages for laborers and the disposability of clothing in the era of social media. Does a piece of clothing become redundant just because we have pictured ourselves in it posted on Instagram?
Considering the impact, Europe’s policy makers have called to ‘end fast fashion’ as they push to toughen oversight of the industry.
Last week, the EU parliament voted strongly in favor of a suite of recommendations designed to force the fashion industry to operate more sustainably and help consumers to make more responsible and ethical choices, pushing to bolster the scope and ambition of a regulatory roadmap laid out by the European Commission last year.
Will this help tackle excessive consumption?
Will it adversely impact lower class consumers who rely on affordability of Fast Fashion?
Will other markets follow suit?