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The Shocking Truth About Fast Fashion

The Shocking Truth About Fast Fashion

Fast fashion - is it really worth it?

Fast fashion is cheap, fast and getting cheaper. You see the same retailers lining shopping malls all over the country. Retailers like Supre, Forever 21 and H&M - providing all the clothes and accessories you could ever want, at dirt cheap prices. Trips to these kinds of retailers are shopaholic nirvana at sale time when you can leave the store with bags and bags of clothes and hardly a dent in your wallet.

Your heart is singing as you clutch the latest trend for practically nothing and the store has offloaded their merchandise. What is there not to love? 

If you really think about it though, how exactly is it possible to sell a t-shirt for $5?

Unfortunately, much of the reason it is possible is because human lives and the environment are paying far more than $5 for that t-shirt. In order to produce clothes so cheaply, big retailers manufacture in places like China, India and Vietnam. A great deal of truly decent and well made product comes from these factories, but your $5 t-shirt most likely isn't in that category.

It may well have come from one of the many factories where cheap garments are made in deplorable conditions in sweatshops where workers are paid unlivable wages and work in sometimes dangerous conditions.

Fast fashion can also wreaks havoc on the environment. In the poorly regulated countries, hazardous chemicals used in the manufacture of clothing is released into local water supplies.  

And if hazardous chemical are used in manufacture, those chemicals are likely to be in the fast fashion you buy. In 2012, a Greenpeace report revealed that companies like Zara and H&M were selling products that had hazardous chemicals like formaldehyde embedded in the clothes. Chemicals that can cause cancer and disrupt hormones.  

Strangely, for all that damage, many of these fast fashion clothes are poorly made and only last one season, which leaves them heading straight for landfill. In the end, you have to ask if the cost in human lives, the environment and your own health makes that one season joy of a $5 tshirt really worth it - especially if you don't even need the t-shirt.

Image: haveseen/Shutterstock

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