Fast Fashion: The Trend Cycle is Out of Control [OPINION]


It’s easy to be influenced by clothing hauls online. Maybe you gave in and asked for a Lululemon Define Jacket for your birthday. Or  you just bought multiple pairs of low-rise jeans, forgetting about the high-rise jeans you bought when they were trendy just last year. 

There can’t possibly be harm in buying new clothes–right?

Wrong. You are the problem.

Hauls on social media promote overconsumption and hurt the environment. It is not uncommon for content creators to post a video showcasing hundreds of dollars worth of SheIn products–a company that adds almost 3,000 new pieces of clothing to its site each week. 

One week, everyone feels influenced to buy plaid skirts and polos to cosplay as a prep school student. The next week, shoppers buy athleisure and sneakers to fit into the “that girl” aesthetic. 

We cannot possibly point fingers at corporations for contributing to carbon emissions and sweatshop labor if we are raising the demand for their products. 

These trends pressure buyers into buying new clothes the next year, when all of the trends from their last haul are obsolete.

These clothes literally pile up: 85% of all textiles end up in the dump each year. 

We are causing pollution worldwide. Poor quality items that cannot be resold in America are shipped to Ghana, where millions of clothing items are discarded on their beaches.

We are making it difficult for environmentally-minded people to find access to good clothing. Consignment and thrift stores that once used to be ideal places for used clothing have been muddied with cheap trends that are anything but timeless. 

We are hurting the Earth, and many people don’t seem to care as long as they look good. 

Women slave away in unsafe conditions just for you to get cheap clothing—Shein factory workers work up to 18 hours a day

We need to be the solution. If nothing is changed about the state of the fashion industry, it will consume a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2030. 

We must step away from replacing our wardrobes with trendy clothing each year.

And to be brutally honest, we need to take action, instead of posting infographics about pollution on our Instagram stories, just to continue our harmful shopping practices. If you can’t stop buying clothes from H&M, then you won’t save the world. 

Whether people will ever trade in their fast fashion trends for more humble basics, however, is up to the next trend cycle to decide. 

Before you buy clothing, think.