Fast fashion: wasteful, low quality changing styles

Alli Heckert, Reporter

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With a new school year in full swing, students at D.C. Everest Senior High can be seen donning bold and new fashion choices through the halls.

  However, with forever changing styles and demographics, how sustainable is “fast fashion”?

  The term “fast fashion” was coined by fashion retailers to describe the clothing that moves rapidly from debut to store shelves to grasp trending current items. These inexpensive designs cycle quickly throughout racks at stores such as Target, H&M, and even online retailers outsourced from other countries, like the company AliExpress.

   While the high turnover rate is crucial to the economic status of these companies, it comes at the expense of consumers and resources of manufacturers.

  Many of these retailers target younger generations knowing that they are more likely to follow trends and shop at their establishment because of constantly changing trends.

  “I go on shopping sprees, around Christmas, Black Friday, before school and my birthday,” said Megan Halambeck, senior. She said, she shops even more frequently, approximately once or twice a month.

   However, the improved technology allows a wider demographic reach through the online market. Companies now offer higher incentives to customers who shop online, even offering exclusive products at times. According to BigCommerce, who created a survey about average consumer habits, millennials and younger generations are shopping online two-thirds of the time as opposed to in-store retailers.

  Joey Heffron, junior, said, “I shop maybe every five or six months, and that’s mostly online.” He adds that his traffic is mostly towards athletic websites, such as Nike and Adidas.  If he follows trends, Heffron agreed without a doubt. “Most of my clothing is based off of athletic clothing and trends that stem from that style.”

   Big companies target young consumers who are vulnerable to the changing styles with every fashion season.

   Payton Vaughn, sophomore, said, “I buy shoes all the time because I like them. I look for popular styles that I like, [such as] Vans Old Skool, I wear them because I like them.” Thinking for a moment, he said, “I look at other people and what they are wearing, if I like what they are wearing, I usually copy that.”

   Students today have more vehicles to explore expressions of personality than ever before, but what happens beyond the transaction and before the store shelf remains an enigma to most shoppers.

   Because fads fade in and out, the process of producing these clothes must match the demand from the company.

   According to National Public Radio’s interview with Tasha Lewis, Cornell University professor, said, “It used to be four seasons in a year; now it may be up to 11 or 15 or more.”

  Public interest in the fashion world has spiked, fueling the bellies of big corporations and encouraging them to produce more merchandise. However, what grows even larger than the public pursuit for new clothing is the waste coming from the production.

   Companies have the power to choose what happens to the waste they produce. Between donating the clothing to developing countries, or selling them to second-hand fashion dealer, there is no concise way to deal with the scrap.

   These clothing produced at hasty speeds are not designed to weather the test of time. The quality of the products not only affects the consumers, but also directly impacts the second-hand clothing industry. The clothing sold to the second-hand corporations by companies looking to eliminate waste are in turmoil because “these clothes aren’t meant to be used for so long,” said Adam Baruchowitz as he told NPR, founder of Wearable Collections, a secondhand market based in New York City.

   To combat wastefulness, a fairly common trend is seen among students at D.C. Everest Senior High: donation and thrift shopping.  

  Megan Halambeck said she “would never throw away clothes, I either donate old clothes or swap with my friends.”  

  Vaughn and Heffron agreed, donating old clothing was the only way to oppose the waste in the fashion industry.

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