By now, we all - hopefully - know that fast fashion, the rapid recreation and offering for sale of trendy, runway designs for dirt cheap prices, comes with a slew of ugly truths, ones that the industry would prefer consumers did not know about. With that in mind, here are a few of those "fun" facts to refresh your memory ...
1. The fashion industry is designed to make you feel "out of trend" after one week. Once upon a time, there were two fashion seasons: Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Fast forward to 2016 and the fashion industry is churning out 52 "micro-seasons" per year. With new trends coming out every week (or twice a week if you're Zara), the goal of fast fashion is for consumers to buy as many garments as possible, as quickly as possible. That's the fast fashion model: high turnover of low cost items.
2. "Discounts" aren't really discounts. Outlet stores like TJ Maxx or Marshall's offer designer labels at a fraction of the price. Unfortunately, the "excess" or unsellable items we think we're buying often have never seen a designer label before. Despite common belief, outlet clothing never enters a regular store and is most likely produced in an entirely different factory than the regular clothing. A few of the companies that have faced lawsuit in connection with false pricing?
Burberry, which was been named in a potential class action lawsuit, charging it with using misleading price tags at its outlet stores in an attempt to confuse consumers as to the original price of the goods. Kate Spade. Bloomingdales and Macy's. And even Nike.
3. There is lead and hazardous chemicals on your clothing. According to the Center for Environmental Health, Charlotte Russe, Wet Seal, Forever 21 and other popular fast-fashion chains are still selling lead-contaminated purses, belts and shoes above the legal amount, years after signing a settlement agreeing to limit the use of heavy metals in their products.
4. Clothing is designed to fall apart. Fast fashion giants, such as H&M, Zara and Forever 21, are concerned with the bottom line and the bottom line alone. Their business models are dependent on the consumers' desire for new clothing to wear, which is instinctive if the clothing falls apart after just a few washes.
5. Beading and sequins are an indication of child labor. Industry estimates suggest that 20 to 60 percent of garment production is sewn at home by informal workers. Often with the help of their children, the home workers sew as fast as they can and for as long as daylight allows to embellish and bedazzle the clothes that end up in our closets.