Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What Really Is This Whole Fast vs. Slow Fashion Thing?

Image via Wikimedia Commons
Hi there! I'm sure that you've heard the term "fast fashion" a decent recently. For those who don't know what it means, basically, fast fashion is clothing that is made to keep up the most recent trends presented at Fashion Week. It's basically retailers like Forever 21 and H&M that fall under the fast fashion category.

Fast fashion retailers have also been put under the microscope for not only ripping off much more pricey designer labels, but also for making clothes cheaply and dangerously that lead to tragedies like the Savar building collapse in Bangladesh. That's why some bloggers have coined the term "slow fashion" and are in favour of buying fewer higher-priced items that will last much longer.

I'm not writing this post because I know everything there is to know about this topic. Hell, I'm not even writing this post as someone who has a very clearly formed opinion - I'm just really confused and conflicted, and I want to share that with you. If that makes sense. Maybe there's a certain appeal to that, haha.

I mean, the bloggers who are for slow fashion and want us all to boycott fast fashion retailers are pretty well off. They have more to spend than your average Joe, so they can afford those designer labels. However, for people like me and maybe for people like you, we can't really dish out $200 for a t-shirt. But if we do spend that much money on a t-shirt and only buy one to wear everyday, then other people will start criticising us for wearing the same thing everyday.

There's also that topic of cheap labour to discuss. We talked about it for a week or two in business class last year because the whole point of all business that aren't non-profits are to make the biggest profit possible. A lot of the times, to do so, CEOs take unethical shortcuts such as taking advantage of other countries' poor economy and extreme eagerness to work, no matter for how little.

So when big companies outsource to third-world countries to do their manufacturing, most of the time, even after several horrific factory collapses, the employees work in an extremely dangerous environment while earning very little. The dilemma here is that without the jobs coming from wealthier developed countries, those people wouldn't have jobs at all and would be starving even more than now. But the jobs they do have now aren't that much better.

I agree that cheap labour and the abuse that entails is awful. I agree that these workers should be paid more, that their work environment should be healthier (mentally and physically) and they shouldn't have to fear for their lives when they go to work. That being said, when it comes to a fast vs. slow fashion debate, while I'm sure we'd all love to spend tons and tons of money on beautiful designer pieces, the majority can't afford it, hence we go to the fast fashion stores for a little taste of it.

But that's unethical and horrible, right?

What are your thoughts on this matter? Please share in a comment below!

Thank you so much for reading!
- J

1 comment:

  1. This dilemma is something I can relate to, and not just fashion-related. For example, I LOVE chocolate and coffee, but hell, who knows if I'm consuming something of unethical sources? It feels awful, and it feels even worse when it seems like there's nothing I can do to change it. What I try to do myself is to lower the chances that I purchase those things, and be happy with what I have. Something like shrink your desire? (That sounds extremely Buddhist. Or Yoda. I don't really know.) Also, I try to influence my friends, and telling people about it. As for fashion particularly, maybe try thrift-shopping or DIY? Okay, I don't really know; I know very little of fashion :p