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The Fast Fashion Debate


What exactly is fast fashion? Well, it’s a lot like fast food. It’s produced quickly, is readily available in more than one location, and is designed for the purposes of mass production. 80 billion cheap, inferior-quality fast-fashion garments are made each year, and with such a high production volume, materials are discarded from an unprecedented number of shoppers’ closets every day.

The fast fashion debate has continued for much too long. Ultimately, fast fashion is not only the opposite of timeless, quality, long-lasting apparel--it’s a burden on our resources, and even ourselves. 

Environmental Concerns of Fast Fashion 

Fast fashion and the miles of fabric that come with quick trends have become one of the fastest-growing categories of waste, and a central characteristic of these products is substandard quality. The cheap fabrics aren’t made to last, so they deteriorate quickly. 

This has lent itself perfectly to the business model upon which fast fashion depends, undoubtedly expanding the size and scope of the fashion industry as consumers have to buy more clothing at a faster rate. And this translates to concerning environmental consequences.

Fast fashion is, fundamentally, a throwaway culture where trends fade, and with it, the cheap fabrics that the clothing is made from. The environmental impact can’t be ignored—while we may do our best to recycle the products in our kitchens, what about the waste that comes from other forms of consumption? When garments in the hundreds of thousands of tons end up in landfills, it creates global problems. 

Worker Exploitation and Infringement

Another realm in the fast fashion debate is exploitative working conditions. In order to create a massive number of garments at the lowest possible price, most clothes are made in places with little or no rights to protect the safety of workers, often resulting in the mistreatment of the largely female population of laborers in these industries. These folks rarely earn enough to make ends meet, are exposed to workplace safety hazards, and have little or no recourse in cases of assault, which can run rampant in such a vulnerable work environment.

Fast fashion has also exacerbated issues around the use of designs which are not rightfully that of the producers. There have been countless cases of independent designers finding their original work or styles being ripped off and used in the mass production of the fast fashion machine. 

Closet-Worthy Clothing Over Fast Fashion

While the fact that clothes are now more affordable than ever might seem cause for celebration, it’s important to remember there is a massive ethical and environmental cost to overconsumption. It’s imperative to change our behaviors and realize the value in long-lasting clothing that’s easy on the environment and supports workers fairly. 

Part of our mission at Matthew Rose is a focus on quality over quantity. We believe in returning to the original values of fashion; independent expression, style, and creativity. Fast fashion is incompatible with our vision for a more beautifully inspired world. No two people are the same, and no two styles are the same. Respect for ourselves and for others must be synonymous with our fashion statements. That statement should be rarified, individualized, and a source of pride. That begins with brands like ours, that take care to continue a tradition of fashion that is focused on respect for everyone in the supply chain, as well as our customers.