Another day, another side effect of fast fashion. Following last month's garment factory tragedy in Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,000 people, eight people have been killed in a fire that broke out late Wednesday in a building in Dhaka, Bangladesh that housed a garment factory. According to the Tung Hai group, whose factory was housed in the building, its customers include Primark and Inditex (Zara's parent company), among others. A few other retailers that are known to manufacture in Bangladesh: Mango, Forever 21, Benetton, and Joe Fresh. Now that the death toll has reached unprecedented heights, its time to face the facts and shun fast fashion once and for all. As we have told you in the past, fast fashion is cheap for a reason and it comes a very high price.
How is it that fast fashion retailers can charge $40 for trousers? Well, if the consumer is not paying a reasonable price for garments, someone else is paying for the difference, and it is usually laborers, as we have seen over the past several months in Bangladesh. Fast fashion retailers are often able to sell products at such low prices because: 1) they do not have to employ/pay designers because a majority of their pieces are copies of the original designs of others; 2) they bypass important quality control and manufacturing safety standards because they are costly to implement and monitor (hence the toxic chemicals in clothes, the frequent employee hospitalizations, and the increasing number of fires and buildings collapsing); and 3) they do not pay their laborers adequate wages.
Now I'm not saying you have to or even can have all of your garments made by high-end designers in the New York garment district, but there are other ways to be mindful of the human toll that fast fashion is taking. Buy less. Fast fashion depends on the constant purchase of throw-away clothing. If you spend a little bit more on a garment of higher quality, it likely won't be out of style and/or completely worn out one season later. Quality over quantity is something worthy of some thought, especially now that the ill-effects of fast fashion are unignorable, and remember: if the price is too good to be true, it probably is.