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The Devil wears Fast Fashion… and you?

Why Fast Fashion is destroying our planet and what you can do about it.

Have you ever shopped at H&M, Zara, Primark or Shein? – Yes? Then you too have already had experience with fast fashion.

What is Fast Fashion?

Fast Fashion is low-prized, mass-produced clothing that moves quickly from design to retail stores to meet trends. New collections are introduced continuously so that “old” items can be replaced rapidly.

Nice, isn’t it? All these stores selling cool, trendy clothing you could buy with little money, wear a handful of times, and then throw away. After all, clothes can be so much fun. With clothing we can express ourselves and be creative – the more we have the better we can do that. And the cheaper the whole thing, the more we can buy. But what is hidden behind the supposedly cheap price tag?

Fast Fashion is low-prized but it’s costing the earth

The impact of Fast Fashion on the planet is immense. The pressure to produce ever cheaper clothes faster often means doing so at the expense of the environment.

High carbon emissions

The fashion industry is responsible for about 8-10% of the global CO2-emissions and needs more energy than the aerospace and maritime shipping industry together.

The garment industry’s carbon emissions are so large that they contribute significantly to each country’s total annual emissions. In the UK, for example, the clothing industry contributes 3.1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent each year. 

Research has also shown that new clothes bought in the UK emit more CO2 emissions per minute than driving around the world six times.

This includes all aspects of the industry. From sourcing the materials to making the garments and delivering them to consumers.

The speed at which garments are produced also contributes to the problem. More and more clothing is being thrown away by consumers, leading to high levels of textile waste. It is estimated that every second, one garbage truck full of clothing is burnt or taken to a landfill. 

Water consumption and pollution

Pollution in the Tullahan river from various industries including both the textiles and dye industries. Source: 

Another huge issue in the fashion industry is water consumption. For example, in 2017, the fashion industry consumed 79 billion cubic meters of water. This is enough to fill 32 million Olympic-size swimming pools. A pair of jeans alone uses 3.781 litres of water when being made. 

But not only the consumption of water is a huge problem, but also the water pollution caused by the Fast Fashion industry.

Oftentimes the Fast Fashion industry uses cheap and toxic textile dyes and materials primarily made of plastic, such as polyester, acrylic, and nylon.

These textiles made from fossil fuels contribute to global warming and can shed microfibres that add to the increasing levels of plastic in our oceans when washed. 

Acrylic releases an estimated 728,789 fibers from a 6kg wash, and polyester 496,030.

That makes the fashion industry one of the largest polluters of clean water globally. 

Harming animals

Animals are also impacted by Fast Fashion. In the wild, the toxic dyes and microfibres released in waterways are ingested by land and marine life alike through the food chain. 

And when animal products such as leather, fur, and even wool are used in fashion directly, animal welfare is put at risk. Much real fur is produced under terrible conditions in fur farms and has in some cases become cheaper to produce and buy than faux fur. This led to numerous scandals that reveal that real fur, including cat and dog fur, is often being passed off as faux fur to unknowing shoppers.

But Fast Fashion is not only harming the environment, but also hundreds of people working for the industry.


The Social Impacts of Fast Fashion

Fast fashion does not only have a huge environmental impact. A widely known issue of fast fashion is the unsafe and unfair working conditions of many laborers. A 2018 US-Department of Labor report found evidence of forced and child labour in the fashion industry in Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam and others. 

Rapid production often comes at the expense of human welfare. Workers have to deal with:

  • poverty pay
  • long working hours
  • unsafe buildings
  • heat and lack of ventilation
  • limited access to the bathroom and drinking water
  • the use of dangerous chemicals

What can you do to combat Fast Fashion?

Fortunately there a few steps you can take to avoid Fast Fashion:

Stop buying from Fast Fashion brands

This is the most obvious step you can take of course and it stops direct support of Fast Fashion brands both economically and socially. It may take a while, but as more and more people do this, the brands will be pressured into changing their ways.

Support small and sustainable businesses

Of course, you’ll still need to buy clothes. Fortunately, there are now hundreds of sustainable fashion brands. A quick online search reveals there are many sustainable brands. These brands may sometimes be more expensive than Fast Fashion items. However, the quality is better and they will last much longer!

Choose second hand or charity shops or check out ebay, vinted and depop

Another way to support sustainable fashion is to buy clothing from charity shops or second-hand shops. You can usually find incredible bargains and clothing can still be in very good condition.

Repair, fix or repurpose things you already have

It may take a bit more time but by learning a new skill you can also save yourself a lot of money and get more use out of existing clothes. There are many things you can do with your old clothes. If you’ve already tried repairing them, passing them to a friend or family member or donating them to charity, you could try:

  • Using them as rags or dishcloths
  • Cutting them into strips to give cushions further padding
  • Using them as material to repair other clothes
  • Crop them to create new pieces of clothing
  • Creating face masks

  • The list is endless. You can find tons of further ideas online!

Invest in classic pieces

Quality clothes, while usually more expensive, are worth the investment. They not only last longer, but they also can make you feel better. This is all about cost per wear, investing in key pieces that will transcend through, not just the seasons but decades too.

And to not even be tempted to buy more:

  • unsubscribe from fast fashion newspapers
  • unfollow fast fashion influencers


Fast Fashion brands like Shein are being promoted more and more on many social media platforms. They sell cheap but also trendy clothes which is why they have become so popular in recent years. But there is a downside to this trend. Not only does Fast Fashion have a huge negative impact on our environment but it also leads to child labor and unsave working conditions. 

But despite the many issues associated with the Fast Fashion industry, there is hope for the future.

Fast Fashion is quickly becoming a known issue and more people are now aware of the harms and are looking for alternatives.

Fashion shouldn’t cost the earth and you have the chance to stop this.

Share this post to raise awareness!

PS: By playing our games you can support charity organizations. At the moment 10% of our profits are donated to organize ocean cleanups. And yes our games are for free and you can start being a hero now.


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