Was ist Fast Fashion?

What is fast fashion?

Shopping for new clothes used to be much less common than it is today. And there was always a major reason for new acquisitions. Be it damage that cannot be repaired or because you have outgrown your previous perfectly fitting sweater. We know these stories from our parents and grandparents.

About 20 years ago there was a drastic U-turn when the fashion industry introduced the concept of fast fashion.

What does fast fashion mean?

Fast fashion stands for “fast fashion” or, in other words, to bring more collections onto the market at shorter intervals.

The conventional fashion industry thrives on trends. Inspired by highly respected designers on the catwalks, trends are hastily imitated and brought to the accessible market for the general public. At an almost unimaginable pace, new designs are created, suitable textiles are sought and garments produced. Zara produces 24 collections a year, which means roughly two weeks from design to clothes rail. H&M brings completely new collections to the stores every year 12-16 and revises them weekly. (McKinsey & Company, 2016).  

As many goods as possible in a short period of time is the goal, the conditions under which the parts are manufactured is secondary. 

Why is fast fashion a problem?

Since the clear goal is the crowd, the “how” is inevitably neglected. Dangerous working conditions, abuse, unimaginable living conditions and starvation wages or forced labor are the result. The documentation "The true cost"Highly recommended. In addition to the inhumane conditions, the monstrous environmental pollution that arises from this huge construct should not be forgotten.

4-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions were due to the fashion industry in 2018. That means at least the same extent as all emissions from air transport and also part of all transport by ship.

Fast Fashion Wasserverschmutzung(Picture: CNN News, 2021) 


Let's take a closer look at global water pollution. Ranks second in the world the fashion industry with 20%. One of the reasons for this is the abundance of toxic coloring agents that are used in insufficiently equipped factories and that end up in rivers and lakes completely unfiltered after use. As seen in the documentation The True Cost, in addition to inevitable environmental damage, this problem also becomes visible in physical form on people. 

Why is fast fashion successful? 


Attracted by the low prices and convinced of having to be part of the trend, the cheap slippers, jeans and Co. are bought. For many, following a trend and always being at the forefront with the latest reflects the sense of fashion and belonging. Industry lives from this. The recently purchased dress was seldom worn or not worn at all and is still uninteresting. The price wasn't really high, which is why there is still money left to get a new one in the closet. 

After that, they are worn only a few times or sometimes not at all and end up like that 85% of all textiles in waste. In view of this number, the term “disposable clothing” takes on very clear dimensions. 

Unfortunately, this is exactly what has a positive effect on the corporations. New trends and collections will come into stores and be sold, repeating the cycle. 


Fast Fashion Landfills

(Image: Fast Fashion and Landfills, Groundsure.com, 2021) 


What can we do against it?

  1. Rethink in small steps. Nobody asks you to abstain from fast fashion overnight. Try to become aware of your influence and to control your buying behavior more consciously. 

  2. Make sensible considerations before walking into any store out of frustration or as a reward and buying something. Think about what you really need and what you want to spend your money on. You will feel joy longer and save time.

  3. Appreciate quality. do you also notice how quickly fast fashion breaks down? The fabric is thin compared to high-quality pieces and does not fit particularly well. Draw more attention to quality than quantity. 

  4. Invest in your existing clothing. Mend them or take the oversized jeans to the local tailor shop for a modification. 

  5. Celebrate progress. Do you have a new slow fashion piece that gives you joy and that you would like to wear every day? Excellent! Remember this great feeling for the next purchase decision, it will definitely be easier :) 

Back to blog