Villains don’t always exist in movies. Sometimes, they live in our closets.
The name of this particular villain is ‘Fast Fashion’.
Fast fashion brands have built an entire industry by introducing endless trends every year and convincing customers to buy substandard clothes at cheap prices so that they can continue racking up profits with each new purchase.
Fast Fashion has had such deep-reaching psychological impacts that consumers now experience some sort of Cinderella-syndrome where if you wear an outfit a couple of times, it’s likely that you’ll never wear it again because society tells you that repeating clothes is an unforgivable sin. Trying to keep up with these ever-changing norms and fashion trends can be financially catastrophic and emotionally overwhelming.
Nowadays, fashion trends are introduced like Oreo flavours – there’s just too many of them. Social media’s “Outfit of the Day” culture has led us to consume fashion in a way that is transient and performative. This has created an impulse to shop more and more often, leading us to buy from fast fashion brands which offer the latest trends at such absurdly low prices that we find ourselves picking up an item in every colour.
Fast fashion brands are wildly infamous for exploiting labourers in developing countries like India, China, and Bangladesh to keep their prices as low as possible. These brands are notorious for indulging in sweatshop labour where the “employees” are overworked, underpaid, often underage, and subjected to deadly, slave-like working conditions.
To make matters worse, fast fashion is destroying our planet. Companies seem to only care about profits while they continue to dump toxic dispose into our rivers and overflood landfills with non-biodegradable waste. About 8000 different chemicals are used in the production of fast fashion, many of which are scientifically known to cause cancer and other such fatal diseases.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are many brands, much like Folk, who are extremely conscious of the environmental and social impact of their production. We strive to bring about real change in the industry by using eco-friendly materials, sustainable manufacturing techniques, ethical production practices and streamlined textile supply chains.
Right from the outset, we design all our products to be used repeatedly for years by using durable and high-quality materials. At Folk, we identify the most neutral colours, and then create classic silhouettes that remain timeless. We lay emphasis on how our customer will use a particular product, and how we can encourage them to use it for as long as possible through upcycling and recycling.
But having said that, until the fast fashion behemoths truly incorporate sustainable and moral production efforts on a large scale, we still have a long way to go. And this can only be realised through conscious consumption. As consumers, we need to normalize owning fewer garments and using them for longer.
Consumers have the power to demand real, effective sustainability in their fashion, and the key to this is change in consumer buying behaviour. The goal is to cause a simultaneous shift in production and consumption practices to pave the way for a better tomorrow.