Page 1: Fast fashion endangers all

Vy Nguyen

Bermuda shorts, trucker hats, twisted halter tops. Shein clothing hauls, Amazon try-ons. What’s in? What’s not? 


Fast fashion, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is the “design, creation, and marketing of clothing that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers.” 


But as a constant stream of TikToks showcase the latest trendy clothes that are just one-click away from being purchased, the United Nations released its sixth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on Aug. 9. 


According to the report, from extreme heat waves and heavy precipitation to droughts and intense tropical cyclones, “the scale of recent changes across the climate are unprecedented.”


The threat of climate change feels more potent than ever. But names such as H&M, Forever 21 and Zara continue to make up the industrial behemoth of fast fashion. 


“I know that Shein is a really big (fast fashion company),” senior Alyssa Baker said. “It’s like, I don’t know where that company is based, but I assume it’s somewhere employees are not getting paid very well, and it’s just a lot of labor for things that should be a lot more expensive.”


The cheap price of fast fashion — the direct result of outsourcing the majority of manufacturing and production to the developing world — combined with the eagerness to “stay cool” feeds into the cycle of buying and throwing away. 


“I have to live in this world for a while and I want future generations to still have the same beautiful world that I know,” senior Vivian Kalb said.


Rooted in the practice of reusing and repurposing, sustainable alternatives like upcycling and buying secondhand offers a small step in the right direction. 


“There are a lot of times where you think that you don’t have an outfit to wear when you actually have plenty,” Kalb said. 


Limiting the consumption of clothes is a measure that reduces environmental impact. But if people are looking to purchase clothes and be environmentally conscious, thrifting often serves as an accessible option. 


“I thrift for the older look of clothes but also because of sustainability,” Baker said. “Those clothes are already made, so it’s not taking somebody else’s labor and their hard work to make more.”


After collecting old clothes from her friends, senior Kiara Kim decided to upcycle denim to make a large trench coat.


“I took patches of each pair of jeans, and layered them on top of one another, so when you walk, they kind of flutter,” said Kim. “I loved how it looked, how it moved…There was no waste in making that. Making the form itself, making the base, adding accents…everything about it I loved because I found a new purpose for clothes that would’ve been thrown away.” 


Kim’s passion for upcycling fuels her commitment to environmental sustainability. 


“I think people are realizing that climate change is a thing, but they’re not actually understanding the consequences of it,” Kim said.


“We only have one earth and we have to take care of it. So, obviously, we gotta do something about it.”