People should stop supporting fast-fashion companies with negative environmental impact, start supporting small businesses

Avery Carlisle

Starting in middle school I would always see the girls posting clothing hauls from sites including Shein or Zaful and I would get so jealous that they were finding the latest trends and getting so many items for such a cheap price. Now I realize those cheap prices actually come with a bigger cost: the decline of our planet’s health. Not only do these fast-fashion brands treat employees and consumers poorly, but they are also one of the many causes of the environmental issues us and future generations have to deal with.

Recently on TikTok, I’ve seen many small business owners complaining that fast-fashion brands are stealing their clothing designs and ideas and trying to sell them as their own. The fast fashion companies sell these products for less money since they have the large factories and the cheap materials to make the products that the small businesses don’t have. Those factors, in return, lead to more customers. These struggling small businesses then lose multiple customers to the thriving environmentally unfriendly companies who take credit for their work, which is unfair and should be stopped.

Riley Laferriere

While some may realize the harm sites like Shein cause to people and the environment, many others ignore those facts and only think of these websites as places that sell affordable, cute and trendy clothing. But fast-fashion brands produce mass amounts of items for their customers, this also means unhappy, often underpaid, employees in large factories, a lot of environmentally unfriendly fabric dyeing, and excessive usage of water because these factories use cotton as their number-one material. Fabric dyes alone contain many harsh chemicals that can pollute waterways instantly. The mistreatment and pollution of our environment’s water through fast-fashion companies will only increase the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere. 

According to an article by Princeton Student Climate Initiative (PSCI) titled “The Impact of Fast Fashion on the Environment,” if the fast fashion industry continues to be as popular as it is today, greenhouse gas emissions are expected to rise 50% within the next decade. An increase in greenhouse gasses will continue to affect the change in climate which will automatically affect our world and community’s health. 

As people support these affordable sites, they unwittingly also support the decline in Earth’s health. Buying from these companies and supporting them in any way will only contribute to the decline of our planet’s health, socially and physically. Even though the trendy items may be cheap, they are not coming from good places as the materials used and the factories making them only make the world a worse place than it already is.