Preprint / Version 1

Fast Fashion and its Effect on the Fashion Industry: An Ethical Debate


  • Anita Hartman Brooklyn Technical Highschool



fast fashion, consumer behavior, environmental impacts, unregulated labor


The fashion industry is a multi-trillion dollar textile based market that’s engaged in the designing, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and retailing of all types of garments and accessories. It is an ever evolving industry with a multitude of textile and garment companies entering the market on a daily basis. The industry employs a labor force of 3,384.1 million people worldwide and is responsible for 2% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product. Although the fashion industry is a major contributor to the global economy, it’s an exploitative industry that constantly battles against sustainable production methods, protective employee regulations, and ethicality overall. In order to capture the multifaceted lens of ethicality, research was conducted to observe how fast fashion has impacted the environment, consumer behaviors, and the livelihood of the workers fast fashion powerhouses employ. The lack of standardization pertaining to sustainability in the fast fashion market has allowed for mass amounts of garment waste as well as for the industry to become the second largest consumer and polluter of the world’s clean water sources.It has also altered consumer behavior to adopt a “throwaway” attitude towards garments and has linked buyer satisfaction to cheaper prices.  Although highly unethical, there are some perceived benefits to the fast fashion industry. Fast fashion is much more affordable than other brands, making products available to a wider range of consumers, especially those with less disposable income. The accessibility of fast fashion has become ingrained into society so much so that it will never truly disappear, but this does not mean that we can’t try to mitigate its negative effects. Raising awareness towards the fast fashion industry’s ethical issues and shortcomings is the first step that must be taken.


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