Fast Fashion: Meaning and Impact

Fashion Studies

The growing demand and eagerness to supply, even before the order is placed, generated the idea of fast fashion. Many of the fashion industries started the supply chain. Fast fashion garment production encourages duplication and low-quality materials (such as synthetic fabrics) in order to supply inexpensive trending fashion to the consumer at a mass level.

What is the Meaning of Fast Fashion?

Fast fashion is a trend that encompasses the entire process, beginning with designing, followed by making the dresses, supplying them on the market, and consumers' purchasing and using them. However, under the whole process, the notable point is that the entire work is properly organized and systematic, and hence it is done very rapidly. Textile industries are producing high volumes of clothing every day.

Fast fashion brands work on the newest styles and hence manufacture and supply the new styles in the market at a cheap rate. Their intention is to optimize certain aspects of the supply chain so that the new trends can be designed and manufactured quickly and at a lower price. If the manufacturing cost is low, only then would they be able to supply the new style to mass consumers at a lower and more affordable price. Many of the big brands, such as H&M, Zara, C&A, SHEIN, Peacocks, Primark, Uniqlo, etc., work on the same principle. These retailers manufacture and sell garments strategically. They sell garments in small bundles and keep surplus manufacturing capacity on hand. Because of such a technique, they frequently induce items to be out of stock, and by doing so, these retailers are able to make substantial and immediate adjustments to manufacturing.

Historical Background

Until the 1800s, fashion was, as such, not an exclusive field of business. Though it was there, but largely to fulfil the needs. The elite classes had such an interest, but they used to do it on their personal levels. So, it was at individual levels and it was a time-consuming process. But the advent of the industrial revolution changed the scenario of the textile industry and, subsequently, the fashion world. Because of the revolution, introduced the sewing machines and other textile machines, which facilitated the people to produce garments in the factories and made readymade dresses for the people. Because of the beginning of a new era of mass production, garments became much easier, quicker, and cheaper.

Furthermore, in the 1960s and 1970s, a second revolution can be seen in the textile industry, as the younger generations started setting up a new fashion trend. Fundamentally, they started using cheaply-manufactured clothes as a means of personal expression. This fashion has given birth to a new concept of street fashion. And, surprisingly, by the late 1990s and early 2000s, fast fashion started growing very fast, and it was like a booming industry in the United States. Likewise, fast fashion is also linked with disposable fashion because it delivers designer products to the public at a mass level at relatively low or affordable prices.

Consequences of Fast Fashion: Good OR Bad?

We all know the universal principle, i.e., "every coin has two faces." Similarly, fast fashion has both good and bad aspects.

So let’s discuss the benefits first:

1. It did not allow a monopoly to flourish in the market, which was the possibility because of the excessive growth of demand for garments. It always supplied more than the demand, which means no single brand can take advantage of high demand.

2. It fulfils the needs of every stratum of society, whether they are from the elite class, the middle class, or the lower income group.

3. It makes available the latest and trendy designs at an affordable price so that even people of lower income groups can buy the trending clothes.

4. By opening the supermarket, it made shopping very simple and user-friendly. And

5. Last but not the least, the fast fashion industry created employment at a mass level.

Now, if we talk about the dis-advantages of fast fashion, then following are some of the significant dis-advantages of fast fashion:

1. In fact, the biggest global issue caused by the fast fashion industry is, harmful impacts on the environment. Such mass production also leaves garment waste in high volume, which raises the issue of landfill and environmental pollution. Because of the high volume, it really becomes a problem to manage the garment waste. In fact, it is damaging the whole of global bio-diversity directly or indirectly. It is one of the reasons for climate change. And, the consequences of climate change, we all know better.

2. Such a garment industry not only exploits the workers by paying very low wages but also damages their health and hence affects their personal as well as social life.


Considering the increasing population world-wide, we cannot totally boycott the culture of fast fashion, as it is very helpful for the middle class and lower middle-class people. But of course, we can find some middle path, such as, we can manage the garment waste through strategic plan and management. We need to use technology that can recycle the garment waste. We can educate people not to purchase excessive cloths and use their cloths number of times and in the last, instead of throwing away, give that for recycle. A few active steps can make fast fashion as sustainable fashion.


1. Audrey Stanton. What Is Fast Fashion, Anyway? (URL -

2. Good On You. What Is Fast Fashion and Why Is It So Bad? (URL -

3. Rashmila Maiti. Fast Fashion and Its Environmental Impact (URL -

Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47