Regardless of whether it's H&M, Zara or Primark, large fashion chains like these exist in almost every city. Fast fashion products can be found in masses these days, the demand for new trends and cheap clothes is increasing.
But what exactly is behind the term fast fashion and what are the consequences of the industry?
Fast fashion describes an industry that produces fashion clothing that is readily available and cheaply produced. The word "fast" stands for the speed with which the product can be produced and sold.
From 2000 to 2014 alone, production doubled from 50 billion to 100 billion items of clothing per year. This is mainly due to the large fashion groups, which have increased their number of new collections to up to 24 collections a year in recent years.
The increase in fast fashion production has severe consequences for workers in the clothing industry:
Around 60 million people worldwide currently work in the textile industry in 14 to 16 hour shifts a day - seven days a week. Overtime hours are paid only to a small extent. Employees can also be required to work late.
The earnings of the workers also hardly make it possible to survive. In the regions where the fast fashion industry is based, most companies operate below the minimum wage. This only covers about half of the money that is needed for the needs of the workers.
The working environment also has little or no safety standards, such as a lack of ventilation systems.
The environment is also heavily burdened by the fast fashion industry.
For example, the items of clothing have often been transported a long way because different production steps are carried out in different countries. This leads to a high CO2 balance until the product reaches the consumer.
Even when importing, there are no limit values for the chemicals contained in the clothes. As a result, chemicals and pesticides can be used carelessly in the mostly Asian production countries.
The quality of the clothes suffers as a result. Despite the large ecological footprint, the products can often only be used for a short time. In addition, synthetic fibers found in clothing that are difficult to recycle cause water pollution in sewage systems and seas.
So what to do about it?
Every decision to buy fast fashion continues to support an industry that exploits both workers and the environment in its resources.
Instead of shopping at Zara & Co., buy vintage or second hand and become part of the sustainability movement.