The Effects of Fast Fashion on the Environment

Fast Fashion

How Rapidly do Fashion impact the Environment?

Whereas 85 percent of all materials end up in landfills each year, it dries up water sources and contaminates streams and streams. 500 000 tons of microfibres, or 50 billion plastic bottles, are discharged into the sea each year fair from washing dress.

Fast fashion: What is it?

The phrase “quick fashion” has gained popularity in discussions of fashion, sustainability, and environmental awareness. In order to capitalize on current trends, the phrase is used to describe “cheaply created and priced items that replicate the latest catwalk styles and be pumped through stores swiftly.”

The fast fashion model is so named because it involves the quick design, production, distribution, and marketing of apparel. As a result, shops are able to offer huge amounts of a wider range of products, giving customers access to more fashion and product distinction at a lower cost.

According to the Quantis International 2018 research, fiber manufacturing, yarn preparation, and dyeing and finishing account for 36%, 28%, and 37% of the industry’s global pollution impacts, respectively (15 percent ). The study found that cotton farming has the greatest impact on freshwater withdrawal (water diverted or withdrawn from a surface water or groundwater source) and ecosystem quality, while the energy-intensive processes used in dyeing and finishing, yarn preparation, and fiber production have the greatest effects on resource depletion.

The effects of fast fashion on the environment


Fast fashion has an adverse effect on the environment due to the exhaustion of non-renewable resources, the release of greenhouse gases, and the large consumption of water and energy. With 700 gallons needed to manufacture one cotton shirt and 2000 gallons needed to produce a pair of jeans, the fashion industry is the second-largest consumer of water. Business Insider further warns that because the water left over after the dying process is frequently poured into ditches, streams, or rivers, textile dyeing is the second-largest cause of water pollution in the world.


Additionally, companies use synthetic fibers like nylon, polyester, and acrylic that take hundreds of years to disintegrate. According to a 2017 research from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), washing synthetic textiles like polyester is responsible for 35 percent of all microplastics, which are microscopic bits of non-biodegradable plastic, in the water.

The True Cost, a 2015 documentary, claims that the world now consumes almost 80 billion new garments annually, 400 percent more than it did twenty years ago. Today, the average American produces 82 pounds of textile waste annually. Raising animals requires a lot of feed, land, water, and fossil fuels, and the tanning process is one of the most harmful of all the processes used to make leather.

Because the chemicals used to tan leather, such as mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal tar derivatives, and various oils and dyes, are not biodegradable and contaminate water sources, they have a negative impact on the fashion supply chain.


It takes a lot of energy to produce plastic fibers for textiles, and the process also generates a lot of volatile particulate matter and acids like hydrogen chloride. Additionally, cotton, which is used in a lot of fast fashion items, is not produced in an environmentally responsible manner. Farmers face health concerns from pesticides deemed vital for the growth of cotton.

More environmentally friendly materials that can be utilized in clothes include wild silk, organic cotton, linen, hemp, and lyocell in an effort to reduce the waste produced by rapid fashion.

The Effects of Fast Fashion on Society

The negative effects of fast fashion extend beyond the environment. In actuality, the sector also causes societal issues, particularly in emerging markets. 80 percent of clothing is produced by young women between the ages of 18 and 24, claims the nonprofit Remake. According to a 2018 US Department of Labor report, the fashion industry in Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam, and other countries has used forced and child labor. Sales and profits take priority above human welfare as a result of rapid production.

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, an eight-story manufacturing building housing numerous textile companies collapsed in 2013, killing 1 134 employees and injuring over 2 500 more. According to Annie Radner Linden’s research, An Analysis of the Fast Fashion Business, “the garment industry has traditionally been a low-capital and labor-intensive industry.”

Does Slow Fashion Offer a Solution?

The popular response to fast fashion is slow fashion, which argues against unnecessarily high production, convoluted supply systems, and unthinking consumption. It promotes ethical production that is kind to both people and animals.

According to the World Resources Institute, businesses should develop, test, and invest in business models that encourage the reuse of clothing and extend its usable life. To combat the harms brought on by quick fashion, the UN established the Alliance for Sustainable Fashion. It aims to “stop the socially and environmentally damaging practices of fashion.”

Adidas and other retailers are experimenting with customized apparel to decrease returns, boost customer satisfaction, and save inventory. 

What harm does quick fashion cause to the environment?

The second-largest water polluter in the world is textile dyes, and pesticides, which are frequently used in cotton farming, contaminate groundwater and soil. These chemicals can leak into waterways if there aren’t proper environmental safeguards, endangering the health of farmers, employees, and the communities they live in.

How much garbage does the fashion industry create?

How much garbage is actually generated by the fashion industry? Every year, the average consumer discards 70 pounds (31.75 kilograms) of apparel. 13 million tons of textile waste are produced annually globally, 95 percent of which can be recycled or reused.

Which clothing is harmful to the environment?

Polyester and nylon. These synthetics, which include rayon (viscose), cotton, wool, manufacturing techniques, and other materials, are fundamentally unsustainable on two counts since they are made of petrochemicals and are not biodegradable.

Why does fashion waste exist?

In addition to wasting money and resources when people throw away garments in the trash, it can take more than 200 years for the components to degrade in a landfill. Textiles produce greenhouse gas methane during the breakdown process and release hazardous chemicals and dyes into our land and groundwater.

What is so wasteful about fashion?

Waste is pervasive across the fashion industry as a result of excessive production, excessive consumption, and unsatisfactory end-of-life options. An similar amount of clothing is burned or buried in landfill every second. This alarming data was released by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

How may fashion waste be reduced?

To assist in recycling such products, donate your used clothing to thrift stores or textile recycling bins and units. A new owner will give these items new life. Not simply clothing can be donated; non-clothing waste like drapes can also be dropped off at thrift stores to find a new home.

Which industry has the greatest impact on the environment?

Energy, agriculture, fashion, transportation, food retail, construction, technology, and forestry are the worst industries for the environment and pollution. They have a detrimental effect on the ecosystems they are exposed to and are largely responsible for the current level of global pollution.


The pollution of Fashion can never be over emphasized, this article has really sharpen the idea that is garrisoned within the confinement of the environment and pollutant.

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