Hypocrisies of Fast Fashion; Troubling Demography and a Culture of Protest
Online Arts & Lit editor Lucy Aylmer discusses the rife hypocrisies in fast fashion
Vogue business report that complementary services like Klarna, Afterpay and Affirm, have accelerated the growth of fast fashion and aided the typically cash poor young through offering later payment services. The idea being that customers split the cost into monthly installments or pay in full 30 days later. This allows millennial’s to buy with little to no consideration for saving, or indeed ethical consumption. ASOS, H&M, Topshop and River Island, amongst others, have subscribed to Klarnas services.
With cheap clothing, delayed payment installments and fresh off the catwalk clothing, it is no wonder that fast fashion appeals most to the millennial generation. From data accrued, young people seem disinterested in purchasing sustainable clothing, according to McKinsey only 31% of Gen Z are willing to pay more for sustainable products. Vice report that a quarter of young people dispose of garments after wearing it once, highlighting young peoples blatant contribution to fast fashion.
The hypocrisies of fast fashion began to arise when we saw the engagement of young people involved in environmental movements, from protests organised by Extinction Rebellion to pioneering activists such as Greta Thunberg. Evidently, sustainability is a priority for young people. Yale’s climate communication program reports that 70% of 18-34 year olds saying they worry about climate change, compared to 56% of those aged 55 or older.
These statistics are troubling and contradictory; if young people are so concerned about the environment, then why do they contribute and partake in activities so profoundly damaging and frankly, hypocritical, such as fast fashion, consumerism and the associated throwaway culture. It’s not too dissimilar to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex taking a strong stance on climate change, lamenting issues of plastic pollution and the perils of endangering wildlife, whilst Vanity Fair report that they simultaneously took a private jet to the climate change summit at the Google Camp in Sicily.
Hypocrisy can really tarnish and undermine a progressive and logical argument. Fast fashion is an important issue that is being vandalised by contradictions and media commodification. The next step forward will be to ensure transparency and perhaps better investigation of those endorsing sustainability, and asking if environmentalists are really practicing what they preach.