What Is Fast Fashion? The Startling Truth About Your Clothes

“There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness.”  Mahatma Gandhi

What is fast fashion? And why is it such an issue?

As we work towards a more sustainable future in the fashion industry, it’s important to identify what exactly it is we’re fighting for and against. Because, honey, knowledge is power.

What is Fast fashion?

If you’ve ever found yourself staring at a closet jam-packed with clothes yet unable to find anything to wear, fast fashion may have you in a chokehold.

Fast fashion is a business model in the fashion industry that involves extremely fast production cycles aimed at getting the hottest fads, trends, and runway designs into the hands of consumers in the shortest amount of time possible (sometimes as little as 3 days) and at very low prices.

This fast fashion definition basically highlights the problem: prioritizing of speed and cost over quality and sustainability.

Because fast fashion brands are churning out new collections weekly, sometimes daily. And with the rise of social media and influencer culture and trends that pop up every other second, it is not uncommon to buy clothes just for the sake of it.

And since those random shopping sprees are the norm these days, the fast fashion industry will get even faster in the future.

So why is it so controversial?

The Dark Side of Fast Fashion

Have you ever wondered about the processes involved in making your clothes and about the people who make them?

What is fast fashion doing to churn these trends out at such neck-breaking speeds?

The truth is, there are a lot of shady things happening underground to keep fast fashion so cheap and produced so quickly. Especially involving the supply chain.

Labor: Who is really paying for those cheap clothes?

For one, these brands rely on factories that are essentially sweatshops to minimize the cost of production.

Because if you're paying $5 for a shirt, best believe the person that made it is earning so much less.

The Clean clothes campaign estimates that they may receive less than 3% of the price you paid for it.

Imagine that. Earning way below minimum wage, working 14-16 hour days, for 7 days a week. No breaks, no overtime, no benefits, and no rights.

They are exposed to toxins that are detrimental to their health and are at high risk of accidents, fires, and disasters.

And that's not all.

The industry also relies heavily on child labor and forced labor. It's basically modern-day slavery.

What is fast fashion doing to the environment?

A lot!

We’ve heard about the impact of deforestation, fossil fuels, and plastics on the environment. Well, fast fashion contributes to all this and then some.

Every year, the fashion industry generates 10% of global carbon emissions and 20% of industrial water pollution worldwide, making it one of the most harmful sectors on the planet.

Every step in the life cycle of a piece of clothing does some form of damage to the earth. From production to use and eventual disposal.


Synthetic fabric.

You may know them as polyester, spandex, nylon, acrylic, and elastane, but what they are essentially is plastic.

These materials are cheap and versatile, but they are also derived from fossil fuels—and we all know how bad fossil fuels are for the environment.

Natural fibers like cotton aren’t innocent either.

The cultivation of cotton involves obscene amounts of chemicals—mostly fertilizers and pesticides—that leach into the soil and groundwater and contaminate them.

Runoff from these farms also introduces toxins into surrounding water bodies, leading to increased cases of deformities, cancer, stillbirths, and deaths among locals who depend on these water sources. 

But the pollution doesn’t end there.


Washing your clothes releases tiny plastic particles called microplastics every wash cycle. And those things get everywhere. 

Researchers have found them in the weirdest of places—from placentas to internal organs. The highest mountains to the bottom of the oceans.

In fact, ocean floors are especially littered with them. About half a million tons of microplastics find their way into the ocean each year—the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles. Every year!

You're covered in microplastics right now. And your food? It's sprinkled in there too.

Researchers have discovered that, on average, people ingest approximately 5 grams of plastic every week. That’s equivalent to eating a credit card every week. 


And it gets worse still—this is getting depressing.


Nearly 60% of all clothing produced ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being made.

That's a whole lot of waste. Especially when you consider that 100-150 billion garments are produced every year.

And because of the nature of the fibers, they remain in those landfills for centuries without decomposing. CENTURIES!

It’s literally a toxic cycle…

What is Fast Fashion doing to You?

And finally, honey, there's you.

Because clothes are such a big part of our lives, there's no escaping the direct impact fast fashion has on us.

The business model of fast fashion depends on repeat purchases to make a profit. So the marketing tactics exploit your existing insecurities and instill new ones in order to sell you product after product.

You may find yourself trying to keep up with the ever-changing trends. Chasing things that don't exist and searching for things that aren't lost.

They sell you this lifestyle that requires constant updates and upgrades. Your wardrobe is never complete without this or that. You repeat clothes? That's practically a crime!

Plus, the designers make clothes that last only a few wears to keep you coming back for more.

What is the Way Forward?

Now that we know the issues—and this list is by no means extensive—what can we do as a society to keep these guys in check and contribute to more sustainable fashion?

It’s important to hold these companies accountable for their actions, but they will never be truly willing to change as long as there’s money to be made. Because demand creates supply.

That’s where you come in, honey. Here’s what you can do to make your fashion more sustainable:

  • You can start by taking good care of the clothes you already own to ensure they last longer. Because the most sustainable clothes are the ones you already own.
  • Patronize thrift stores and buy clothes second-hand.
  • Use washing machine filters to catch those microplastics before they can be released into the environment.
  • Become a slow fashion advocate. Educate as many people as you can about the dangers of fast fashion and the benefits of slow fashion. 
  • Invest in quality clothes that will last you a long time.
  • Withdraw your support from fast fashion brands and support sustainable brands instead. Brands like Her Pony that take ethics and eco-friendly practices very seriously.

You’re at the heart of all our processes, and so is the environment. Our production process is completely transparentfrom inception to sourcing and production. We craft quality pieces that you’ll be wearing for years to come!


It’s easy to become overwhelmed or to feel like the weight of the planet now rests upon your shoulders, but don’t let ‘perfect’ be the enemy of ‘good’.

Every step you take or part you play towards a more sustainable future is a step in the right direction.

So start wherever you are, and you’ll see the results compound over time.