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Fast Fashion: The Unavoidable Consumption

Idalia Rodriguez | Writer

Clothes are thrown away in an abandoned factory.

Fast fashion is an intense debate right now. Only a thin line separates what is truly ethically made, and what is piling more into the large waste landfill in this world.

In an era where we can click less than 10 times and obtain an item shipped directly to us, most shoppers fall into the trap of fast fashion. With the environmental impact and value of the product, the low prices can prove to be pricey in the long run.

“During their lifetime, these fibers are responsible for 35 percent of the microplastics contaminating our oceans and can subsequently take centuries to decompose in landfills,” said Evelyn Wang for The New Yorker.

“I used to be an avid Shein shopper, obsessed with getting all these trendy clothes at such a low price in our economy, blinded by the reality of this industry,” said Diana Grullon, an LCCC student.

An inevitable result of this industry is that environmental damage could worse–and at an alarming rate.

“The process for making a year’s worth of virgin polyester churns out the same amount of CO2 as 180 coal-fired power plants - that’s around 700 million tons of CO2 annually. Reports estimate this could double again by 2030,” states Marthe de Ferrer from Euro News.

Online shops like SHEIN, DHgate, and Alibaba significantly contribute to the damage that fast fashion has created. However, they aren’t the only brands that participate in it, but are rather more upfront about their production values. The line between shops that use sweatshops and ones that don’t can be very thin in this day and age.

“I was surprised to learn that when I brought clothes at higher prices than fast fashion items, they had come from the same place,” said Gabriella Ortega, a former LCCC student.

In the end, the customer is torn between spending less at Shein and feeling guilty about the environmental impact, or spending more money at luxury brands like Zara.

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