Fast Fashion Perpetuates Poverty for Many Families
In such a fast-paced world, it should come as no surprise that people no longer tend to buy many of their goods to last, making fast fashion companies very profitable.
As defined by the Oxford Dictionary, fast fashion is “inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.”
Today, trends are so fleeting that by the time one receives an item in the mail or saves up enough to purchase that item, the trend has already passed.
This is why fast fashion companies are so successful: people are always buying because through social media the trends are always changing, and most people don’t think twice about making purchases because they are typically so cheap.
Many don’t stop to look at the consequences. In order to see their products for the cheapest amount possible, companies consequently pay their workers hardly enough.
In countries like Sri Lanka and India, factory workers for H&M claimed to not even be making half of what they would need to support both themselves and their families, according to Vox.
While this is not always the fault of the employer, many companies seek out places that do not uphold the same standards as the United States. This practice perpetuates the low minimum wage in certain countries as many governments hope to offer the cheapest labor possible to bring factories to their areas.
Parents of those working for the Nike and Longfa Shoe Factory claimed that officials forced their children to use fake identification cards to appear as though they were older in order to be able to work and surpass any labor laws.
Many families living in poverty, however, do not have any choice but work in poor conditions and for unpaid fair wages. By supporting fast-fashion brands, people are creating a market for this.
Oxfam International explains that since 2010 and as of 2018, billionaires' wealth has grown over six times more than that of regular workers.
A Bangladeshi H&M Factory Worker
“It takes just over four days for a CEO from the top five companies in the garment sector to earn what an ordinary Bangladeshi woman garment worker earns in her whole lifetime,” said Oxfam.