Fast fashion is popular, inexpensive clothing that is mass-produced in a hurry. Fast fashion companies include Zara, H&M, Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing, Uniqlo, Gap, Primark, and Fashion Nova. Why is fast fashion so problematic, in other words?

The rise of fast fashion has coincided with the growth of the fashion industry’s carbon footprint. The apparel and footwear industries together account for more than 8% of global climate impact – more than all international flights and maritime shipping traffic combined.

A large part of the problem is that we simply buy too much stuff. In the United States, the average American household contains around 300,000 items, and the average person throws away 81lbs of clothing and textiles each year.

Fast fashion garments are often produced using unsustainable materials like polyester (which is derived from petroleum) or cheap cotton, both of which have a huge environmental impact. Additionally, most fast fashion products are not designed to last – they are made to be worn a few times and then discarded.

All of this has a major impact on the environment. The clothing and textile industry is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and it takes nearly 2,000 gallons of water to produce just one pair of jeans.

Because these firms produce in such huge quantities, they are able to provide low-cost clothing from fast fashion brands. While the firms don’t make much money on each item, they may make hundreds of millions or even trillions of dollars since they manufacture so much.

There are, however, some alternatives to fast fashion that can help reduce its environmental and social impact. For instance, we could make more use of existing clothing by repairing and repurposing existing garments instead of throwing them away. We could also support companies that prioritize ethical production practices and sustainable materials in their manufacturing processes.

Despite the many problems associated with fast fashion, it does have one major benefit: it is affordable. For many people, particularly those on a tight budget, fast fashion brands offer a way to stay up-to-date with the latest trends without breaking the bank.

The industry’s rise has also coincided with a “race to the bottom” among companies, as they attempt to make apparel as cheaply and quickly as possible in order to offer trendy items at low costs.

1) In 2015 alone, textile manufacturing released 1.2 billion tons of CO2 equivalent into the atmosphere. This is greater than all worldwide air travel and maritime and shipping emissions combined.

2) It can take more than 2,000 gallons of water to produce a single pair of jeans.

3) The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter of clean water globally, after the oil industry.

4) A typical cotton tee-shirt uses about 700 gallons of water from start to finish – that’s enough water to meet the daily needs of over 50 American households!

5) A one-time clothing purchase from a fast fashion brand can use an average of 2.2 pounds of pesticides, 1.9 pounds of chemicals, and 3600 gallons of water.

6) Fast fashion garments are often produced using unsafe or unethical practices, including child labor.

7) The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions – more than the entire aviation and shipping industries combined.

8) The average American household contains around 300,000 items.

9) Every year, the average person throws away 81lbs of clothing and textiles.

10) Only 15% of all textile production waste is recycled or reused each year.

Despite the many problems associated with fast fashion, there are some solutions that can help us reduce its negative impacts on both the environment and our society. These include encouraging reuse and repair of existing garments, supporting ethical and sustainable manufacturing practices, and shifting away from fast fashion brands to more sustainable alternatives. Ultimately, however, the most effective way to reduce the impact of fast fashion is to simply consume less, and buy quality products that last.


In conclusion, fast fashion is a major challenge for our society and the environment. If we want to make meaningful changes to this industry, it will require us to change both our consumption habits and the way that companies operate. But with some effort and creativity, there is hope that we can create a more sustainable future for fashion.

What are your thoughts on fast fashion? Have you ever purchased from a fast fashion brand? Do you support the industry, or do you think it is problematic in some way? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!