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The Social Impact of Fast Fashion

The fast fashion industry has been criticized for its ethical treatment of employees for decades. 

Human rights, the environment, and workers’ rights get lost when everything in the fashion industry is focused on profits. Garment factories are forced to produce products at such low costs, resulting in workers’ safety and wages being sacrificed. 

There are many downfalls in fast fashion that directly impact human rights. Workers in factories experience extremely low wages and unsafe working conditions with little to no protection. Furthermore, women working in these fast fashion factories are often subject to gender violence and sexual harassment. Fast fashion does not support the sustainable development goals of the 2030 agenda. These goals include; decent work and economic growth, gender equality and reduced inequalities.

Often consumers do not tend to question who made these pieces of clothing and how these workers are treated. The clothing industry is one of the few industries that continues to be heavily reliant on human labour. Many people who work in fast fashion production factories take on these jobs because it is the only work available to them.

If we stopped supporting these companies and demanded they pay a living wage to their workers, they would be forced to change. Not contributing to fast fashion until labour policies have changed and purchasing second hand when possible is one way to advocate for an ethical work environment.

How to Create Change

Support businesses that are fully transparent about the way they treat and compensate their staff. Shopping from small businesses where you know exactly where your dollar is going and what it is supporting is important. 

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