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Thrifty Fashion Blog

The Cost of Fast Fashion: Garment Workers

Written by Swoop’s founder, Olivia Todd

Fast fashion, defined as the rapid production of cheap, trendy clothing, has long been a major contributor to labor issues within the fashion industry. Fast fashion companies often rely on offshore manufacturing, or the outsourcing of production to countries with lower labor costs, in order to keep costs low and profits high. However, this often leads to exploitation of workers, particularly in developing countries.

According to a report by the International Labor Organization, workers in the global apparel industry, including those in the fast fashion industry, often earn less than a living wage and are subject to various forms of exploitation, including child labor and forced labor. In addition, workers in the fast fashion industry are often denied basic rights, such as the right to unionize and bargain collectively.

Fast fashion companies are also known for their use of sweatshops, or factories that operate under inhumane conditions. Sweatshops often have poor working conditions, including overcrowding, lack of ventilation, and exposure to hazardous chemicals. Workers in sweatshops are often paid low wages and are subjected to long hours and abusive treatment.

The fast fashion industry is also a major contributor to environmental degradation, as it relies on cheap, synthetic materials that require large amounts of water and chemicals to produce. These chemicals can end up in rivers and lakes, causing harm to aquatic life and the ecosystem. In addition, the transportation of clothing from factories to stores and consumers generates significant carbon emissions.

So what can be done to address the labor issues within the fast fashion industry and offshore manufacturing? One solution is to support fast fashion companies that are committed to ethical practices, such as paying fair wages, providing safe working conditions, and using sustainable materials. Another solution is to buy second-hand clothing, which helps reduce the demand for new clothing and minimizes the environmental impact of the fast fashion industry. Consumers can also support fashion companies.

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