Fast fashion is becoming more known for its contribution to the amount of waste in the world. Companies that mass produce fashion have a big carbon footprint, but they’re still the main source for people’s wardrobes.
Is it OK to shame people who buy from these companies for supporting them? A lot of people can’t afford sustainable clothing, and it is often not size inclusive.
Sustainable fashion needs to become a lot more affordable and accessible before we shame people for buying the less environmentally friendly option
It’s likely that the majority of people’s clothes are from fast fashion, as they are produced quickly and sold for affordable prices. All the main clothing stores like JCPenney, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Forever 21 use it.
Fast fashion is now criticized because of its exploitative nature and environmental impact. The workers who make these clothes are usually paid very little. They’re paid mere cents per item and work 12 hour days.
It also hurts the environment. Clothing production takes up 10 percent of carbon emissions and most textiles are just dumped every year. Since a lot of clothing is made from plastic, this increases the plastic waste in the world. In fact, 35 percent of microplastics in the ocean come from textiles.
Since the production of these clothes are cheap and fast, they’re often not the best quality. People just go and buy new clothes when their old ones wear out, further contributing to the issue
Many people claim that sustainable fashion is an alternative. Sustainable fashion is when clothes are produced in an environmentally conscious way, using recycled, more natural and biodegradable materials.
Their design and production are also supposed to produce less waste in the process as well. They’re supposed to last longer so that less clothes get thrown out. Sustainable fashion sounds like a good alternative, but for many people, it isn’t.
Sustainable fashion brands often don’t have plus size clothing, and since they’re made to be higher quality, they’re more expensive. Many people can’t afford to wear those clothes.
Thrift stores are also a good option, however, they may not have enough of certain sizes, so it’s not accessible for everyone. Not to mention the growing trend of pricey vintage thrift stores that make thrifting inaccessible for many people.
Many people feel the need to shame people online if they post a haul from the popular brand Shein, since they contributed to fast fashion.
It’s important to keep in mind that many people don’t have the money for sustainable fashion, or they may be plus sized and have trouble finding size inclusive brands.
Of course, some people do have problems with shopping too much and their contributions to fast fashion could definitely be lessened. It’s important to understand the barriers of shopping sustainably before you judge someone for buying from Shein.
Society must bring up these conversations of sustainability, but more importantly, we have to realize that sustainability wasn’t made for everyone. Some people just aren’t able to buy a $100 dress.
We should switch the tactic of shaming people for fast fashion, to shaming companies for continuing to produce fast fashion despite knowing the consequences.
Anna Baker is an English junior who can be reached at [email protected]