Mopify Blog

On Healthy Homes and Time Saving Strategies

How Fast Fashion is Slowly Killing the Planet

fast fashion industry

Here's a few shocking stats to think about:

  • Fashion is the 2nd most polluting industry in the world (oil the 1st)
  • The average North American throws away 65 lbs of clothing each year
  • Workers in textile factories overseas can make as little as $10 per month

Couple that with the fact that the fashion industry now follows 52 "micro-seasons" designed to make us buy more and more and you can see how this problem will be getting worse over time.

What is Fast Fashion?

The fashion industry is designed to make you feel out of style in a considerably short amount of time. Designers pump out new styles on a weekly basis, with retailers like H&M, Zara and Forever21 receiving daily shipments of new styles. Essentially, being “on-trend” 24/7 is designed to be impossible.

Nowadays, it’s estimated that our fashion industry follows 52 micro-seasons rather than just 4. “Fast fashion” itself refers a phenomenon whereby production processes are accelerated in order to release new trends to the market as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Designer looks are pulled directly off the runway and mimicked by lower-end brands almost instantaneously.

From the perspective of retailers, fast fashion is beneficial as the constant flow of product encourages customers to make frequent visits to the stores.

So Why is This a Problem?

Aside from the fact that fast fashion can encourage a “throw-away” or “disposable” culture among consumers, naturally it requires extremely fast production.

Consequently, retailers turn to impoverish countries where the cost of labour is the cheapest. The conditions of these work environments are poor due to the lack of properly executed factory standards. Particularly, these manufacturers have tight delivery deadlines which need to be met.

Research supports that many supplier factories force workers into overtime to meet these disproportionately high production targets. Majority of these workers earn less than living wage and are exposed to toxic chemicals on the job. Unfortunately any genuine representation or unionization of these workers is rare.

There is also environmental aftermath to consider that is caused by low quality production in fast fashion. A variety of chemicals like lead, formaldehyde, pesticides, and carcinogens are woven into the fabrics we put on our bodies. Run-off from factories finds its way back into the earth, now with increasing amounts as demand rises. In addition to this, landfills are overflowing with unwanted clothing.

What Can I Do To Fix the Problem?

Ask questions about your clothing, read labels, and be informed. Don’t get wrapped up in the 52 micro-seasons - make a conscious effort to buy less clothing and invest in quality material.

To get you started along this path, we've picked-out 5 ethical clothing brands made right here in Canda:

Fig: Made in Montréal, QC. Described as "travel wear for women". The theme of their garments is comfort and ease of movement. They also make accessories.

Encircled: Made in Toronto, ON. Women’s lifestyle and activewear brand. The motivation behind the brand is designing highly functional clothing with which you can “do more will less”. Many of their garments are re-arrangeable to be worn a number of ways.

NTHING: Made in Toronto, ON. Their signature product is the "Perfect Tee", an elongated tee shirt with raw seams and a loose fit. Casual streetwear, generally tees, sweats, jackets, and occasionally shorts/pants.

Véronique Milijkovitch: Made in Montréal, QC. High-fashion oriented women’s clothing, including shirts, dresses, and pants. They execute looser-fitting, drapey styles.

Skinny Sweats: Made in Toronto, ON. Titled “creative loungewear” this brand is mostly designed with women in mind, however their catalog has a few items that are unisex, such as t-shirts and sweatshirts.