The Fast Fashion Model

1872 Words 7 Pages
The fast fashion model spreading across the apparel industry is decreasing the lifespan of clothing through the minimization of production time and costs. Because retailers are producing so rapidly, the purchase behavior of consumers is consequently accelerating. The result is a surplus of unwanted items needed to be disposed—whether it be because of a change in taste or lack of quality. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the United States throws away 12.7 million tons, or 68 pounds of textiles per person annually.1 The growing behavior to discard of unwanted clothing translates into adverse effects on the environment. However, most consumers are unaware of the implications of their disposal due to the new consumption culture …show more content…
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
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Recent studies confirm a strong relationship between fast fashion and disposal rates.7 Implying that purchasing apparel products more frequently contributes to the growing number of unwanted clothing items. Can consumers be blamed, though? There is presently little to no research on when and how to dispose of a product and when disposal can lead to alternate usage.8 Either way the unwanted garments still take up space until they are disposed. A consumer has three choices overall when considering disposal: either keeping the product, throwing it away, or giving it away. So unless consumption is decreased or clothing disposal methods are improved, the act of buying clothes will continue to negatively impact the environment and

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