Did you know that fifty percent of fast fashion clothes are thrown away in a year? (Source: Ellen Macarthur Foundation) The amount of clothing sold worldwide has doubled in the last 15 years. The average lifespan of clothes is decreasing, and clothes that are damaged are often thrown away rather than repaired and reused. With the influence of social media, especially influencer culture , the concept of 'wear and throw away' is becoming increasingly widespread, and we constantly hear about new trends. As we hear and analyze one, a new one appears. It's like we're in a race and we're taking as much as we can. We are competing with ourselves. As you can imagine, the significant increase in consumption accelerates production as well. In order for the supply-demand cycle to continue functioning, products that are far from long-lasting and much more harmful to the environment are produced. We are in such a consumer culture and this is a small definition of fast fashion.We can compare fast fashion to fast food culture. While both provide instant pleasure, they harm the planet in the long run. Both are unhealthy habits and alternatives can be found with a little effort. Slow or sustainable fashion, which we can present as an alternative to fast fashion, is actually in our roots . All we need is to remember. Combining our traditions with the new, adopting production without harming any living being as a top priority, creating fair working conditions and prioritizing quality, not quantity. So, how did we forget our essence? At what point and how did fast fashion enter our lives? We wanted to take a little journey in the past...
Let's rewind to before the 1800s. At that time, fashion was a slow industry. Everyone had to provide the materials they wanted to use, such as wool or leather, prepare them, weave them, and even make their own clothes. Then the Industrial Revolution entered the scene and brought with it a brand new technology: sewing machines. Making clothes has become much easier, faster and cheaper with sewing machines. Small shops, easily accessible to people from almost every class, began to open one after another.
By the 1960s and 1970s, fashion had evolved into an industry where young generations set new trends and created trends. Clothing had become a form of self-expression , yet a distinct distinction between haute couture and street fashion remained. Fast fashion literally entered our lives in the last years of the 1990s and the 2000s. These years coincided with the years when the concept of " fast fashion" was first heard: Amancio Ortega, the founder of Zara, moved to New York in the early 1990s after establishing his company and opening his first retail store in Europe in 1975. In those years , The New York Times first used the term ' fast fashion' to describe Zara's mission. The purpose of using the term was to express that 'the time it takes for a garment to complete all its processes and arrive at the point of sale in the store is 15 days' .
Source: Unsplash.com | Artem Beliaikin
Immediately after this development, brands such as Topshop, H&M, Forever 21 and Gap sort of 'took over' the industry. Designs that were previously only seen in the best fashion houses were now available for sale to everyone. Thus, fast fashion has gone out of its way... What we have reached is that fast fashion pioneer brands have increased their collections, which they released once a year even 15 years ago, to 50-52 today. Try to think about the effects of this on the planet (we will talk about it in our next article).
Before ending our article, we would like to share tips on how to identify a fast fashion brand. A brand must: have hundreds of different styles, all reflecting the latest trends , have a very short time between when a trend is seen in the media and hit store shelves , have multi-step supply chains, and products are made from cheap, low-quality materials such as polyester (this is also, of course, We can say that the clothes wear out after a few times and become unwearable and are thrown away) are clues that the brand is a fast fashion brand .
In our next article, we will focus on the cost of fast fashion. Stay tuned.