- The recent color-coded sales on retail sites have attracted criticism for their negative environmental and mental health impacts.
- Critics particularly slammed fast fashion for ‘feeding’ the paranoias of consumer culture.
What Is Fast Fashion?
The term fast fashion is popularly used to describe the products of the fast fashion business model. This model replicates the rapidly changing seasonal and trendy clothing from catwalk trends and high-fashion designs into mass-produced, low-cost, and low-quality products. It then brings them to retail stores quickly to meet the high demand.
The business model works to cater to the appeals of fashion-conscious consumers. It meets its mark—thanks to efficient supply chains, quick-response manufacturing methods, low-cost labor in the apparel manufacturing industries, and innovative marketing strategies. Popular retailers who employ the fast fashion strategy include Primark, H&M, Shein, and Zara.
How Does Fast Fashion Affect The Environment?
While the fast fashion system has been lauded for creating opportunities for economic growth, it has run into hot waters for its lack of sustainability. It has been intricately linked to global gas emissions, textile waste, chemical pollution, and occupational hazards related to the use of poisonous dyes, pesticides, etc.
Fast Fashion And Mental Health
Fast fashion is considered an integral parcel of retail therapy, a type of ‘therapeutic method’ that harnesses the positive feelings associated with shopping. It is also linked to the concept of “feel-good fashion” which advocates wearing clothes that boost our moods.
The influencer culture on social media and changing notions of body image also espouse fast fashion as a lifestyle and (sometimes) as an indication of certain socio-cultural standings and ideologies.
Why Is Fast Fashion Bad For Mental Health?
Experts have slammed fast fashion as it’s not only unaffordable to keep up with but also hugely damaging to the environment and our mental well-being.
It encourages irresponsible overconsumption. Studies show that fast fashion affects mental health negatively, triggering mental health conditions such as:
- Psychological stress related to impulse buying and panic buying
- Feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, shame, guilt, and anxiety in consumers
- Eating disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Impulse disorders
- Shopping addiction
- Antisocial tendencies like theft, extreme debt, etc. in order to afford fast fashion products
- Pathological hoarding
- Climate anxiety
Addressing Fast Fashion’s Mental Health Impact
Critics of fast fashion look to alternatives to fast fashion for environmental accountability as well as sustainable business and fashion practices. An emphasis on sustainability, upcycling, and thrift store shopping has increased to solve fast fashion problems.
Shopping with a plan and investing in versatile wardrobe staples that last longer can also help curb the long-term consequences of fast fashion.