As I got older, constant endorsements for the coolest and sexiest styles on social media caused my 14-year-old self with self-esteem issues to turn to online shopping. Brands such as Fashion Nova, Zaful and Shein kept me scrolling until I found just the thing that would keep me with the times but would not break the bank. Who would have thought that their business model was to have cheap enough prices that even an unemployed freshman in high school could fill her Instagram account with skimpy bikini pictures?
It was not until my junior year of high school that I started to learn about the adverse effects the fast fashion industry had on the environment. I then realized the hand-me-downs and thrift store deals I once feared wearing in front of my peers were the only chance we had at not completely destroying the planet for our fashion choices.
Fast fashion is built on the near instantaneous production of garments that are sold at extremely low prices — a great idea for a business mogul that completely disregards the repercussions of this production strategy. Beneath the inviting websites filled with “BOGO” deals and links to the most trendy looks, there is a huge detrimental environmental footprint carved into the Earth. Despite the consumer’s desire to keep purchasing items due to the captivating marketing strategies these industries pose on our attention, 20% of surplus production of clothing has proven to sit in stores unpurchased until it is taken to a landfill. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the fast fashion industry has a 10% contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. The amount of water it takes to make just one t-shirt is roughly 700 gallons