The Impact of Fast-Fashion Retail

The Impact of Fast-Fashion Retail

“Fast Fashion” is a term used to describe wardrobe retailers that produce products in bulk for very cheap, using large factories or sweatshops. Stores like these include Shein, Romwe, and Fashion Nova. Throughout quarantine, shopping from stores that sell clothes in bulk retail became very popular over social media.

Customers who paid the most for clothes from these stores include teenagers and college students who saw the trend emerge on apps like Instagram and Tik Tok. But, these buyers have said they have no clue where or how the clothes are being made and sold. Online shopper Haley Fadell admits, “I just ordered my clothes from Shein a couple days ago and I honestly have no clue how the clothes are made. It is a little sketchy how cheap the shirts and dresses are.”

Sadly, clothing production is subject to 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. Shein has consistently been accused of producing their clothes unethically, with buyers finding unsafe traces of lead and other toxins in their clothing or packages. The clothes are also made with an unreasonable amount of microplastics, which means the clothes can’t be burned after being cycled through thrift stores and goodwill. This means that they are dumped into our ever-growing landfills or the ocean. 

As Shein’s corruption is being revealed to the public, not everyone can access information that would direct people away from fast fashion retailers. But thrift/second-hand shopping is becoming a huge trend on social media platforms. Local shopper Isabella Haulman quotes, “A global business known for their cheap pricing, Shein, is one of the many stores we all buy from that negatively impact the world around us. By shopping second-hand, we cut back the number of clothes that go to landfills. Not only does thrift stores contain high quality vintage clothing, the prices are accessible to almost everyone.”

Though these brands will never be shut down entirely because of their popularity scale, online shoppers can do their part by taking clothing from brands like Shein and Romwe out of their carts.