Discussion #1: Fast Fashion
Fast fashion describes a business model where trendy clothes representing the latest fashions are manufactured quickly and cheaply in developing countries. The clothes are worn only once or twice before being discarded by the consumers who purchase them. In this discussion we will examine the social and environmental impacts of this business model.
There are 3 videos to watch and 2 papers to read:
#1 DW The fast fashion business (2022, ~40 min)
https://youtu.be/YhPPP_w3kNo (Links to an external site.)
#2 DW Shein (2021,~9 min)
https://youtu.be/U4km0Cslcpg (Links to an external site.)
#3 BBC Chile has become the world’s fashion graveyard (2022,~3 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyHgY2O__fY (Links to an external site.)
These two papers are an in-depth examination of the environmental footprint of fashion and efforts to address the huge problems of waste.
Death by Waste: Fashion Circular Economy, 2020
The Environmental Costs of Fast Fashion, 2022
Each of you is required to post one 600-650 word substantive initial first post giving your opinion or reflection on the topic of fast fashion. Some suggestions to consider are:
Give an overview of fast fashion based on the information presented. What social forces do you think encourage consumers to engage with this business model?
What are the environmental impacts of each step of “Make -> Wear -> Throwaway” that characterizes fast fashion? How do these impacts relate to the systems approach we are taking to examining the Earth?
Based on your experience, do you think there is a realistic possibility for a widespread change in consumer behavior and lessening of environmental impacts? Can we make fashion sustainable?
Discuss any other aspect of fast fashion that you think is important.
You have two choices on how to reply to other postings:
You may reply to two other students’ posts (200 words minimum each).
You may reply to one other student’s post and reply to one reply to your fist post (200 words minimum each)
To view the grading rubric, click on the three dots at the top of the page.
Discussion #1 will extend over two weeks. The initial posting is due at the end of the first week. The initial post must be submitted to the Discussion Plagiarism Check – see below.
The two reply postings are due at the end of the second week when the Discussion closes. Once the Discussion closes, there will no additional postings accepted. Please check the Course Calendar for the due dates.
Remember to submit your post to the Discussion #1 Similarity Check before posting to the Discussion Board. Your grade is dependent on posting in both places. If significant plagiarism is detected (>20%) you can rewrite your post and resubmit to the plagiarism check prior to posting to the Discussion Board.
Please review the syllabus for information about proper online conduct.
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ReplyReply to Discussion #1: Fast Fashion
Collapse SubdiscussionMichael Perez
May 26, 2022May 26 at 10:29pm
Fast fashion, the consumer market loves alliteration. Make, wear throwaway, this is a type of fashion I hadn’t completely known about but as sources make clear its evidence is everywhere. As someone who’s taken a fair share of environmental classes I knew of the brass tax water/energy usage however what my eyes were opened too was our own complicity in letting this harmful practice continue and feeding into it. From the perspective of a self-identified scavenger make and brand does not matter to me. You’ll find me in the thrift store finding something fancy, on the street considering if the style of that bright floral chair on the corner fits in my room, and always accepting when my grandparents offer me old clothes that fit me. Using secondhand products often gives them a 2nd life and honestly adds to the “Boehme” character oft sought after in fashion marketed towards the young people. Despite the joys of thrifting, there remains a question. Is our modern fashion industry sustainable? To that I flatly say, no.
Wrapped up in international trade, one could argue that no part of our international trade system is sustainable. How can we have avocados year-round, I drank orange juice today I looked at the bottle I poured it from it said, “made in Brazil”, some of our cloths bears made in Indonesia (wonder how it is over there). In truth the exploitative practices in place cannot remain in place in perpetuity however it is up to us how long such practices continue. I am aware of brands as well that tout sustainable practices, I hear Patagonia has been rather good about things even releasing ads saying “Don’t buy this jacket” to address consumerism as well as incorporating recycled materials. Even with such measures the executives of Patagonia openly dropped their claim that they were a sustainable company at COP26.
All that being said I don’t intend to rail on everyone for buying new cloths but certainly advocating for anyone who hasn’t to start thrifting more often and there are various reasons. By sourcing your clothing from thrift, you avoid the environmental harm of global trade system. Additionally, you build this unique wardrobe of obscure brands and shirts that “speak to you”. Many still partake in not only fast fashion as well as only buying new cloths because thrifted items are somehow irrevocably “dirty”. Another argument I’ve heard from a friend is that her mom didn’t let her thrift cloths because she was “taking cloths from the poor”. Both of these arguments are rooted in fallacy, firstly come on we all wash our cloths at this age, and secondly must thrifting really be a symbol of a “lower class” I assume not, given how trendy it is these days. I believe portion of the blame rests with these folks both young and old (primarily older generations) who place value in the idea of designer brands and “fresh clothes”, my fellow classmates I know it is hard to hear but many among us have been marketed to! I’ll happily tell my abuela about all my thrifted clothing even if I get an “ay dios!”. When it comes to fashion, I think we ought to drop the pretenses of shame for old or worn clothes, this is coming from the guy who skates around with a red overcoat and cowboy hat (maybe you’ve seen me around!). Fast fashion is all about the “chase” we need to strike down this notion that if your clothes aren’t new than you are this strange out of fashion person. I highly recommend those reading my discussion to just go to a local concert anywhere in Miami, it could be a house show, a warehouse, anything! Simply observe the atmosphere observe that everyone is dressed differently, there is no prejudice, there is no all-encompassing “2020s” fashion that were all chasing, it’s a simple beauty of damn we all look cool in our own way. To those who still go out and shop unsustainably, I respect people no matter what way they may dress and I’m sure everybody has their own idea as to what is “stylish” but as an acquaintance over a canvas discussion post don’t trash our planet over it!
Edited by Michael Perez on May 26 at 10:33pm
ReplyReply to Comment
Collapse SubdiscussionCecilia Castillo Aguilar
Cecilia Castillo Aguilar
TuesdayMay 31 at 12:37pm
Accepting hand-me-downs is also one of my favorite ways to lessen my environmental impact. I’ve never had a problem wearing clothing that once belonged to someone else, and it even makes me feel cooler because it feels as if the second-hand items have more character.
You make an excellent question about whether anything made from international trade practices can be sustainable since it usually travels thousands of miles to reach our hands. The appeal of buying local is made clear in your post.
I agree with the sentiment that we should stop chasing societal fashion trends. Lately, I have been on a journey that explores what my actual personal style is. Sometimes, we are so caught up in buying the same things as everyone else, that we forget to consider what really makes us feel good. There were times when I tried fitting in by dressing the same as everyone, but I always felt inauthentic. Now, I wear clothing that makes me feel happy, no matter what people’s opinions are, or if the style is trending or not.
In summary, I believe we should take a step back and truly analyze the consequences of our actions. Let’s all aim to gradually switch our styles from fast fashion to slow fashion because I know the planet will thank us for it.
ReplyReply to Comment
Collapse SubdiscussionLanna Janco
TuesdayMay 31 at 2:59pm
What an insightful post! I do agree that there is nothing sustainable about globalization or our world today no matter how we frame the question (and answer). Id also like to add that even while thrifting, the clothes that we are giving to thrift stores, they send to industrial laundromats that use incredible amounts of chemicals in the process of “clean up” to then sell at their store fronts. There is no escaping the grips of pollution in this current order of the world. For us to witness and experience a different reality, ours is going to have to dissipate. We are caught in this cyclic existence that damages everything in its path.
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