Fast Fashion: What It Means & What It Is Doing



In depth:

The fast fashion business is scamming you. All your typical go to stores: H&M, Zara, Brandy Melville, Pacsun, Forever 21, TopShop, Lulus, and so many more are fueling the fast fashion industry. The name labeling these types of companies “fast fashion” sounds pretty harmless because, who does not love fashion and getting products fast? However, do not be fooled as the name is deceiving since fast fashion is a horrible attribute to the garment industry. Fast fashion is all about designing products to not last which leads consumers to buy into more of their product and keep the cycle going. The concept is all about making products in bulk, cheaply, and finally getting them to the consumer quickly. The cycle continues on and on as new trends fall in and out of the media and/or society. As if this already was not enough of an unhealthy cycle the impact on our environment is immense. Not only is textile waste immense within the process of producing fast fashion garments, the waste afterwards is if not worse just as bad since the clothing is not made to be handed down eventually when the trends reoccur. Also what most individuals buying into this monopoly do not consider is the people behind the blood and sweat to make these garments. Fast fashion brands are known to have their clothing produced in low grade factories that make for unethical working environments who take advantage of their workers. It has been reported that workers have been found sewing and cutting in ankle deep water or on the concrete floor with just a pillow they have provided themselves from home to support them. 

“H&M Embarrassed After 14-Year-Olds Found Working in Burma Garment Factories.” Reporting on the Triple Bottom Line & Sustainable Business News, 24 Aug. 2016

I am working to end this mad cycle. I want to think back to the past when the fashion industry used to be more special. The industry has been used and abused by consumerism. I wish to transform the industry by instigating policies that require companies to resort to higher grade factories and as many sustainable resources as possible. By raising awareness around this subject our society can be influenced as well. By getting the people to understand the unhealthy and unethical ways of the garment industry, consumers will want to make the right choice by not supporting these companies and to go about life in a different way. Without the constant pressure of needing to dress to the new trend that is set by multi million dollar celebrities or unethical companies.

Lets break it down further:

Take my poll to learn more and start a change in our society:

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Goldberg, Eleanor. “You’re Likely Going To Throw Away 81 Pounds Of Clothing This Year.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 9 June 2016, to an external site..

Handley, Lucy. “British Fashion House Burberry to Stop Burning Unsold Items.” CNBC, CNBC, 6 Sept. 2018, to an external site..

Cooper, Kelly-Leigh. “Fast Fashion: Inside the Fight to End the Silence on Waste.” BBC News, BBC, 31 July 2018, to an external site..

“Human Rights.” The True Cost,

Vogue, Teen. “The Problem With Fast Fashion | Teen Vogue.” YouTube, YouTube, 21 Sept. 2018,–DfC2Xk.

Kaye, Leon. “H&M Embarrassed After 14-Year-Olds Found Working in Burma Garment Factories.” Reporting on the Triple Bottom Line & Sustainable Business News, 24 Aug. 2016,

Hello! I am Anna S. and welcome to my presentation. I hope I have furthered the conversation about this topic that I am so passionate about. Please speak out and continue the conversation.
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  1. April 26, 2019 by Sheena.Kwon

    I think this is a really good presentation because of how relevant it is. We buy fast fashion because of its cheap prices and ready availability. I think we are rarely informed about the price that comes with these brands. We can definitely enact change by choosing not to shop at these places. However, I wonder how we can get the companies to change their usage of harsh labor. What other methods of change are there?

    • April 29, 2019 by Anna Stechschulte

      Not only is there a possibility for change by creating policies that they have to follow through the fashion industry itself or through the influence of the government. I also think a huge change can take place through the consumers choosing to purchase from different brands – the main reason these brands are still powerful and continuing to make a harmful impact on many aspects of life is because of its customers, us! We can stop giving them power and influence.

  2. April 26, 2019 by Jalen.Rucker

    I also think this is a great presentation to bring awareness to the cruel labor and capitalism that is taking place in our world

  3. April 27, 2019 by Isabella B

    Hey Anna! Awesome job I love how interactive your presentation was. I’m curious are you going to be sharing the results of your survey? I also want to say that I’m very happy you did a presentation on this because it’s not something that I know a lot about but it’s also very important to know. What are some good companies that don’t do fast fashion? I’d love to start using them to avoid the ones that do

    • April 29, 2019 by Anna Stechschulte

      Thank you so much! I did want to share the results for people to reference – I will share them in this comment below. Some brands I would recommend is Everlane, Veja, Reformation, Levi, Redone, Alternative Apparel, PACT, and so many more. With just a bit of research all of the sudden there are millions to choose from.

      Survey Results:

  4. April 27, 2019 by Anthea Ching Wun Wong

    Hi Anna! I think that the topic of your project is greatly taken for granted on a daily basis. Many of my friends shop at fast fashion brands and are not aware of the blood, sweat and tears that come with the product. If celebrities were to promote this problem, there is a high possibility of backlash due to the fact that fast fashion brands are what most teens can only afford. How do you think they should tackle the problem of negative comments of the promotion through celebrities?

    • April 29, 2019 by Anna Stechschulte

      How I get over buying those Zara knock off Balenciaga “sock shoes” that I might want so badly to mimic the Kardashians or other prominent celebrities is through the hard facts and by wanting to be different from mainstream trends. I think about how the piece got here after all the sweat shops and the waste it has caused and that is usually more than enough to keep me from spending money within the fast fashion industry. However when it isn’t, I think about all the more unique things I could buy with my money from ethical brands that could be so much more fashionable and “on trend” than that one thing everyone has or is trying to copy. It is always worth it to save up 40 more dollars to invest in something ethical or sustainable or when someone cannot do this it is always worth it to take the time to research brands that are sustainable and affordable to help make the change. This should be the trend that we follow and celebrities follow – we don’t need to wait for the top of the top of people to make it “cool” we the people should be making this happen on our own!

  5. April 27, 2019 by Pat Fisher

    Great subject with global impact. You did a great job covering the many aspects of the garment industry and it’s impact on society.
    I could go on and on …..but will leave it here….

  6. April 27, 2019 by Patrick Fisher


    Great work!!!

    I am familiar with this issue having segments on it on CBS Sunday Morning.

    Keep up the good work!!!

  7. April 28, 2019 by Hannah Robbins

    This was such a good presentation. One question I had is what do you think we should say to people who say that they don’t agree with fast fashion, but don’t want to spend the extra money on more sustainable brands?

    • April 29, 2019 by Anna Stechschulte

      What I believe wins a lot of people over who do not feel affected by the waste factors or abused workers behind the entire scheme, is the fact that the purchases they are making will not only “go out of style” quickly they also will likely be ruined after one wash. They ultimately are saving money by investing in products or searching for sustainable brands. Thank you for your question!

  8. April 28, 2019 by Claire Irigoyen

    What a great topic. Rarely if ever do we consider the implications of the clothing pieces we select. Economic decisions designed to meet rising demand most efficiently comes at a cost, and for many of the sweat shop workers referred to in this presentation the costs are grave. So many of these workers are young; therefore, unlike us they are forgoing their education and other age appropriate activities to make us cheap t-shirts. I must admit I suffered pangs of shame reviewing this presentation. A commendable topic to raise awareness, I will certainly reconsider my purchases as a result.

    • April 29, 2019 by Anna Stechschulte

      It is never too late to make the change of being more conscious 🙂 Every time I pick out my outfit in the morning and I pick out a garment I had previously bought before I was informed from the industry it makes me cringe a little inside. However, all that counts now is the consciousness you newly have and the contagious motivation you have to make the switch! Your thoughts are going to keep me on track in the future to make better choices with these workers in mind.

  9. April 28, 2019 by Lindsey Chao

    Hey Anna! Thank you so much for educating me on this topic! Prior to reading your project, I wasn’t aware that “fast fashion” was not only causing many laborers to suffer, but also is causing major dangers to the environment. In the future, I will research the company I’m trying to purchase clothes in order to assert the ethicality of their production processes.

    • April 29, 2019 by Anna Stechschulte

      This is so awesome to hear! As soon as I was informed about the astonishing effects of the industry I too was just as motivated to change my lifestyle just a bit to make a bigger change.

  10. April 30, 2019 by Emma.McGaraghan

    Great presentation! I really liked your topic; you explored an issue that is not nearly as widely talked about as it should be, considering all the different effects it has. It is particularly useful in a setting like the Catalyst Conference, as targeting young people with this information helps fight the issue as many of the brands who practice fast fashion also target this audience. I’m curious if there are other ways to fight the consumeristic mindset our society has developed towards fashion, in addition to avoiding “fast fashion brands” and donating old clothes? Wonderful job!

  11. May 01, 2019 by Erika Homan

    I love this idea! I really like how relevant of an issue you took on. The statistics you gave about consumption + waste are really shocking, and it is sad to think about the environmental consequences of this. Buying from more ethical brands or thrifting clothes are things people definitely need to do more of, and I think it is tempting to buy something cheap/unethical without thinking about the long term costs of it.
    What are some more affordable ways to go about this?

  12. May 01, 2019 by Frieda

    Hi! I love your project, it’s really important and has so many implications. Besides thrift stores, what are some brands that combat fast fashion?

  13. May 01, 2019 by Ava Vander Louw

    Hi Anna! I really enjoyed reading your presentation. I appreciate the passion you have towards this horrible injustice. Although I am guilty of purchasing clothes from “fast fashion” brands, I am thankful that you have brought to my attention the true reality of consumerism. I hope that our society can move toward paying people a living wage and not treating them like they’re worthless. I agree that awareness can help bring about change, but realistically it will be hard for people to avoid the appeal of the fast fashion prices and trends. I was wondering if you are aware of a way that prices can remain low, trends can be satisfied, while also providing a living wage and protecting the environment? It is such a hard question to answer and something that definitely needs to be discussed!

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