How Can We Stop Fast-Fashion
Blog post written by Akash Mandavilli (CEO & Founder of Rex)
What are the first industries to pop into your mind when you think of pollution? Agriculture? Energy? Transportation? Yet, the trillion dollar fashion industry is the second largest polluter of clean water and produces 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions. Worst of all, 85% of textiles go into landfills each year despite reuse potential. The fashion industry used to be built on seasonal styles and superior quality. Now, the industry is inundated by catwalk trend replication, breakneck production speed, and low quality materials. The culprit? Fast-fashion.
By minimizing price and maximizing appearance, fast-fashion forgoed quality and sustainability to create the disposable silverware of the fashion industry. This has led consumers to buy chic new styles on a recurring basis which then quickly land in the trash as the fabric rips or color fades. By throwing out the premeditated seasonal style model, fast-fashion has created endless micro seasons. Consumers are always behind on the newest trends. Brands like Zara and H&M use limited purchase periods and thousands of styles to keep consumers engaged in a perpetual search for the best style.
With the added reach of social media, fast-fashion is ironically even faster. Previously, consumers had to navigate to a website, browse through products, and make a decision. With social media influencers, users can simply swipe up and click to purchase new styles. This model has catapulted social-first brands like Fashion Nova to the center of the industry.
Although Millenials and Gen Z initially fell prey to fast-fashion, many are waking up and realizing the pervasive impact this trend has on human life, climate change, and overall consumer well-being. Millennials especially have started to shift towards buying quality products from brands they can trust. This has allowed them to purchase less as their clothes last longer, support manufacturing workers, and take agency of their personal style. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. Educating new generations is the first step towards decreasing the role of fast-fashion. At Rex, we believe the next step is encouraging discourse and social shopping.
We hope to create a platform in which users can help each other curate styles, shop sustainably, and share reliable brands. By empowering users with information and formalizing your shopping network, we hope to create a simple, sustainable shopping experience. Try Rex at rexfriends.com and help us iterate towards that goal. In the meanwhile, you can take steps towards eliminating fast-fashion by thrifting, shopping at sustainable brands (list of brands), and donating old clothes to charities like the Salvation Army.