STORY BY JEFFREY PINEDA’
VISUAL BY ISTOCK
The fast fashion industry thrived off child labor and the sake of the environment the moment you swiped, clicked, and ordered a $10 dupe of a piece of clothing.
Back in 2020, we saw the entire world pause; Californians spent most of their time at home. With nothing to do, many resorted to online shopping, giving in to all the new trends social media users were popularizing across platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest.
Due to this, several fast fashion brands like Shein and AliExpress began flourishing and increasing in sales.
According to an article from Glossy Co. written by Zofia Zwieglinska, Shein was the most Googled brand and “reported a $100 billion valuation in April 2022”. Cheap clothing and relatively quick shipping – what could possibly be so wrong about this brand?
All good things come with a few strings attached as Shein has been known to overwork their employees. They work up to three shifts a day, which is equivalent to 75 hours a week according to BBC News.
They are also known for the waste and landfills they produce with their clothing. Shein, unlike other fast-fashion brands, mass produces their apparel creating 6,000 new pieces a day. According to an article from Insider written by Gad Allon, most fast fashion brands create about 20,000 pieces of apparel yearly, companies such as Zara included. In a year, Shein produces roughly 6 to 8 million pieces of clothing. Countries like Ghana are already facing the consequences of compulsive shoppers with parts of the country being nothing but landfills of cheap fabrics.
In an investigation held by the BBC, investigators look into the unethical work practices in Turkish factories that made clothes for the popular brand ASOS. According to the investigators, children between the ages of eight and nine were seen sewing men’s boxers; overworking them 60 hours a week and ridding them of their education. ASOS denied these claims and offered to give back to the affected children, according to an article by Forbes. Although they dropped their suppliers who owned sweatshops, the company ASOS and any major fashion brand is responsible for preventing and stopping incidents like these from happening.
Biology major at Cypress College Linda Rivera said, “It’s obviously not the best for the world. They could do better, if they have enough money to choose a better choice they should but they clearly don’t want to because it’s cheaper.” Rivera mentioned her disapproval for these fast fashion brands and prefers to upcycle as well as reuse clothing she buys.
Fast fashion is everywhere and so many people are unaware; popular brands like Urban Outfitters, Fashion Nova, Forever 21 and several others are all guilty of following immoral, fast fashion ethics. With these brands dominating many closets around the world, finding environmentally safe and affordable clothing might seem impossible but luckily there are so many brands that defy the status quo.