Elements of ‘Fast Fashion’ including rapid production, bad quality replicas of celebrity fashion for lower costs eventually leave an impact on our lives and the environment. The impact though is not necessarily positive. When companies like H&M and Zara sell the ‘ocean of clothing’ at competitive prices, it undoubtedly means the garment workers who are involved in the manufacturing process are underpaid. Journalist and author Lucy Siegle, in her documentary The True Cost, says, “Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone, somewhere is paying.”
Many of the companies are always on a lookout for a production site that will allow them to manufacture the clothing at cheaper labor costs. In many countries, especially Asia, the garment workers are therefore underpaid and are given fewer rights. The garment industry is made up of approximately 80% women. These women who have been working in factories that supply to H&M and Gap have to undergo physical, mental, and sexual abuse to keep up with our appetites for new trends.
The workers are often made to work in exploitative conditions and subjected to forced overtime. The lunch or shorter breaks too are sometimes withheld by the supervisors in a bid to reach the targets. When the targets are not reached in the given deadline the workers are the ones who suffer punishments and even pay cuts.
The workers who create the Fast Fashion often face health risks. The exposure to harmful chemicals and dyes used in clothing, by companies like Forever 21 often pose serious health hazards to the workers involved in manufacturing them. The long hours, payments lower than standard limit, and abuse often leave the workers broken in spirit too. They are also pushed to their limits with shorter deadlines, so the bigger companies can churn out more pieces of style.
Though many brands now are looking into the matter of the workers’ rights, and challenging the myth of the ‘Slave-wage’ business model, Fast fashion clothing is responsible for other damages. We need to know more how the Fast fashion affects our environment and what we can do to make the industry more sustainable.
Tags : fashion, long hours, Slave-wage,