Fast fashion has evolved from popular to discounted fashion in recent years as some consumers recognize its impact on the environment. But despite the current popularity of pecking at the business model, many in the consuming public still don’t fully understand what fast fashion is. That means they can hardly be expected to change their shopping habits to avoid it, even if it’s a trend

On Monday, after the latest – and gloomy – United Nations report on the climate crisis and tweets by climate activist Greta Thunberg, which were aimed directly at fashion for her complicity, searches on Google rose: “is yesstyle fast fashion”. “Is zara fast fashion” and “is h & m fast fashion”.

Whether Yesstyle, the relatively new e-commerce platform in the US that combines cheap fashion from Asia, is fast fashion is certainly justified in questioning. But if consumers are still wondering whether Zara and H&M fall into the fast fashion category, how far has the industry really come in communicating the serious need for more sustainability? And communicate that the environmental impact of fashion goes beyond fast fashion?

“The consumer does not have reliable measures and the companies’ self-assessments based on their own compliance standards are not enough. Capital, which works with six fashion companies that have committed themselves to a zero inventory and zero waste business model. “Fast fashion was never really clearly defined and even the difference between Zara and H&M is significant. But I think the problem is exacerbated when you have bad actors like Boohoo, Fashion Nova, Shein and many others. This notion that fast fashion is always the same is really not true. I think it will challenge those who are still competing on price and quantity. “

But this style of play has a timestamp for brands looking to see themselves into the future.

“The days of long lead times, labor arbitrage and ridiculous waste are over,” said Thorbeck. “These are the costly obstacles to sustainability.”

At the simplest fast fashion prices, trendy – often catwalk-inspired – inexpensive clothing is produced all year round in a breakneck clip. Merriam-Webster defines fast fashion as “an approach to the design, creation and marketing of clothing fashion that emphasizes making fashion trends available to the consumer quickly and inexpensively”. Buyers with limited cash or those who have only been interested in one deal for some time have been able to get a new top for the price of a coffee, and suppliers continue to sell products with weekly drops that can hit 5,000 pieces.

In their more complex form, the “bad actors” of fast fashion can rely on an exploitative setup to make garments so quickly, and the often disposable clothing that some companies make and produce in non-commercial quantities has led them to put them on To store landfills.

Even though fashion by and large is a major accomplice in Humans vs. And that despite the fact that wholesalers sell clothing that can sometimes be even cheaper than the prices of fast fashion and in even larger quantities (which is sometimes exploitative at the same Suggesting supply chain relationships and environmental impacts, just not the same decline). Frequency) and these businesses have gotten less angry. Regardless of this, at least according to Thunberg, no sustainability claims from either type of mass market were sufficient to absolve the industry of its persistent climate-damaging misconduct.

As the activist said on Monday in a series of three tweets accompanying her post as the first Vogue Scandinavia cover star: “The fashion industry is making a huge contribution to the climate and environmental emergency, not to mention its impact on myriad workers and communities Those who are there are being exploited all over the world in order to enjoy fast fashion for some that many treat as disposable items.

“Many make it seem like the fashion industry is starting to take responsibility by spending imaginary amounts on campaigns that portray themselves as ‘sustainable’, ‘ethical’, ‘green’, ‘carbon neutral’ or ‘fair’. But let’s be clear: this is almost never anything but pure greenwashing.

“You cannot mass-produce fashion or consume it ‘sustainably’ as the world is shaped today. That is one of the many reasons why we need a system change. “

A June report by the RSA, Britain’s Royal Society for Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce, found that “colossal amounts of plastic go into the clothes we wear”.

“While many fashion websites seek to market eco-friendly clothing, the vast majority of the items listed on these websites contain new plastics, half of which are made entirely from petrochemical polymers such as polyester, acrylic, spandex and nylon,” it said in a statement noted at the time of the publication of the report. “These use large amounts of energy and cause environmental damage when they are made, and they can take thousands of years to break down.”

If you ask the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which is working to improve general knowledge of the impact of fashion in its current form, so that consumers can rethink their consumption habits, it does not go to the heart of the industry’s strong environmental footprint.

“To meet the challenge of climate change, we need to transform the fashion industry into an industry that addresses the root causes of climate change by developing products that are more used, re-manufactured, and made from safe and recycled or renewable raw materials. A circular economy for fashion that plans production and production waste is critical to reaching the 1.5 degree path [the internationally agreed-upon threshold for limiting temperature rise] for the textile industry, ”said Juliet Lennon, program manager of the foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative. “Less than 1 percent of the materials used to make clothing are recycled back into clothing after use, while large amounts quickly end up in landfills or incinerators, which has a major impact on the climate and biodiversity.”

Thorbeck sees two ways out of this position so that fashion can make its contribution to containing the climate crisis.

“There are two forces for change and those two forces are the financial community that now needs over 50 percent of its funding to have metrics for ESG impact behavior that requires sustainability to be the narrative for brands,” said he.

Whether this shift has reached a significantly effective cohort of consumers remains to be seen, although Generation Z is certainly the group that has the responsibility to put their dollars where sustainability lies.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that fashion really has no time for greenwashing and no time for limited net-zero targets for 2030 when the “Code Red” of the UN climate report says something about the direction in which things are headed .

“The alarm bells are deafening and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are suffocating our planet and putting billions of people in imminent danger,” UN Secretary General António Guterres said in a statement on Monday. “Global warming is affecting every region of the world, with many of the changes becoming irreversible.”

Thorbeck added, “The fact that [the U.N. was] Producing a summary report of 14,000 studies makes this an overwhelming trend that no company can afford to ignore. That makes 2021 such a pivotal year – if there really is a way to meet the UN’s 2030 goals, it has to start now.

“In essence, the UN report takes away all excuses.”