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Opinion

The Dark Side of Fashion

May 5, 2020

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Currently, clothing and textiles represent 5% of world trade in manufacturing products, being the fourth most representative industry. The quick process of the industry’s expansion, the large amounts sold, and the production’s need to innovate and present the latest fashion trends led to the "fast fashion" concept.

Fast fashion is ultimately understood as the phenomenon in which clothing collections are introduced to follow the latest fashion trends of fashion weeks in Europe. This basically means clothing is being designed and manufactured quickly and at a low cost. Additionally, the industry offers the consumer the possibility of accessing innovative garments at affordable prices and continuously, with nearly 50 collections a year, is a lot compared to the traditional annual spring/summer and autumn/winter collections.

There are many “dark” sides of these shops that work with "fast fashion,” but I’m going to touch on two in particular: contamination and labor abuse.
The fashion industry is among the most polluting industries in the world. A decrease in the average use of a new garment found that it is now used only seven times before being discarded. That, in the last 20 years, has created a 400% increase in the use of clothing on the planet. Besides, there are the typical ecological impacts of the industry, such as the high utilization of natural resources, chemical inputs, and the generation of toxic emissions.

Abuse of labor plays a prevalent role in the fashion industry. There are more than 40 million textile workers in the world, 85% of whom are women. Many of them are below 18 years old, earning less than two dollars a day in inhumane working conditions.

I cannot stop you from buying any more clothes, but just think about this: “Will brands became more responsible? Will users start to raise awareness?” For further information, I recommend the documentary “The True Cost.”

Mia Scaliter is a BBG from Argentina and likes photography and writing articles.

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