Not necessarily. Although modern consumer culture emerged in the 18th century, there has been an unprecedented increase in consumption and disposal behavior in only recent decades—correlating to the emergence of the fast fashion model.2 Advanced technology, speedy manufacturing, and supply chain control are key elements of the newly emerged model. The presence of these elements allow companies to have short product life cycles, limited edition collections, and low prices. The need to consume in large volumes, on the other hand, largely stems from the low prices and changing values the model advertently produces.
The growing affordability and availability of fashion is shortening the life of clothing. According to journalist Elizabeth L. Cline, the average American buys 64 items of clothing per year but spends only 3% of his or her income on clothing—the lowest percentage to date.3 Since the low-cost of garments impacts a consumer’s income minimally, it persuades the consumer to believe that clothing is invaluable and not durable. Clothing then becomes something that is purchased causally and disposed of