Fast Fashion Must Die!
We must kill it.
We must kill it before it kills us and the environment.
If we manage to pull this one, we will grab late-stage capitalism by the balls. We will attack it where it hurts the most.
This is a consumption-side solution. Most solutions on offer regarding the twin problems of capitalism (inequality and climate change) focus on recycling, green energy, and other sustainable ways of consuming things. Very few solution sets attempt to solve the consumption side itself.
The inherent assumption in not attempting to solve the consumption side is that all consumption is necessary. The reality is that not all consumption is necessary. Actually, most of the consumption is unnecessary. What is really unsustainable is the consumption side of things. We are consuming a lot when we don't really need to be consuming that much. This is the elephant in the room that nobody wants to address.
Our civilization is now built around self-expression through consumption. It ought not to be so. Let's rather build a civilization where individuality and the self are expressed through creative processes. The creative process shouldn’t really lead to massive consumption. The economic system is the one that converts these creative forces into mass-produced goods, a mass market for mass consumption, in order to harvest profits. If you take a step back and ask, wtf are we doing, you will realize that it's vanity. We are killing the earth for no good reason.
Fast Fashion is a perfect example of pointless consumption given meaning by Capitalism’s Desire Machine. It can be defended as style, self-expression, culture, the art of dressing, etc. However, if you were to look on the earth from afar, as an alien, you couldn't help but wonder why we are so reckless with our resources.
Fast fashion is the term used to describe clothing designs that move quickly from the catwalk to the consumer. It’s a trend that has been driven by the ever-changing pace of the fashion industry and the ever-growing demand for newness. But while fast fashion has given us more choices and more affordable clothes than ever before, it has also come at a huge cost to both the environment and the people who make our clothes.
Here are five reasons why fast fashion is bad:
- It’s terrible for the environment. One of the greatest pollutants in the world is the fashion industry. The amount of textile waste that ends up in landfills has significantly increased as a result of the rising demand for new clothing.
- It’s fuelling climate change. The apparel sector contributes significantly to climate change. The amount of water and energy used to make new clothing has increased as a result of the rising demand for them. When growing cotton, for instance, a lot of water and pesticides are used, whereas when making synthetic fabrics like polyester, damaging greenhouse gases are produced.
- It’s exploitative. The people who make our clothes are often paid very little and work in terrible conditions. Dem sweatshops. The working conditions are hazardous and abusive. It's just pure exploitation. Child labor is in the mix. Prison labor is in the mix. Sometimes, slave labor is in the mix too. It’s a mess.
- It’s unethical. The fast fashion industry is also guilty of a number of unethical practices, from using child labor to destroying the homes of indigenous communities to make way for new factories.
- It’s unsustainable. The fast fashion model is simply not sustainable. The environment and the people who make our clothes are paying the price for our addiction to newness. We need to find a better way.
How do we Murder Fast Fashion?
We have to tame the machine that drives desire. We have to tame Capitalism’s Desiring Machine which is known as advertising.
I have written extensively on this in the article below.
Fast Fashion owes its existence to Super Advertising and Celebrity Culture. If we criminalize super advertising for fast fashion, we effectively reduce the dominance of that culture. For many, especially future generations, clothing subsequently reduces itself to a basic utility function. People will still express themselves through fashion, but the excesses will largely be tamed and pruned.
Secondly, we need to de-emphasize the Celebrity Culture. Pop stars are so wasteful. The resources they gobble are gargantuan and the effect they have on their followers cultivates an equally wasteful subculture. Larger-than-life wardrobes are not free. They come at a huge cost to the environment. Unchecked liberalism will say everyone has free will to consume everything they want. It is their money after all. Okay. How about I burn coal for no good reason? Not even to generate electricity. No. Just bun it and watch it all go up in smoke. If I do so, we will all be up in arms, because the smoke pollutes the atmosphere, and adds up to global warming and climate change. I should not have the right to damage the environment that I occupy together with the others.
The same concept applies to this pointless consumption of one person having an outsized wardrobe. It's not free. It's costing us all. Remember we are all dwelling on the same earth. The wastefulness of the Celebrity Culture needs to be viewed from these lenses. Yes, they have their hard-earned money to spend. How they spend it affects us all, as long as it leaves an outsized mark on the environment.
We need to slowly conscientize the masses of the wastefulness of Celebrity Culture. The ideas and concepts around wastefulness have to escape from the few who understand these things and flow into public consciousness.
A paradigm of durable clothes, which are worn for a long period of time has to be established. This thing of wearing a t-shirt for six months and throwing it into the wasteland is wasteful. We could do a lot better with durable clothes.
The Metaverse holds some hope. It has the potential to capture desire and utilize it in a manner that does not inflict a heavy toll on the environment. Buying a thousand dresses in the metaverse is better than actually doing it in real life. Of course, marketers will try to use the metaverse as a shopping tool for you to buy actual things in real life. This is where we have to draw the line. We have to make a stand in this zone. We have to make sure capitalism does let its Desire Machine capture and hold ransom metaverse excursions for surplus accumulation via pointless consumption.