The Wasteful Culture of Forever 21, H&M, and ‘Fast Fashion’ - Economic Intelligence (Usnews.com)
Thanks to globalization and cheap labor abroad, companies are now able to inexpensively and quickly churn out trendy garments at low prices. In an age of rampant consumerism, as evidenced by tens of millions of views of YouTube “haul videos” and other media devoted solely to materialism, retail chains such as Forever 21, H&M, and Charlotte Russe have proliferated at an alarming rate over the last decade.
“Fast Fashion,” as the movement is known, has paved the way for outright disposable fashion. It’s not uncommon for shoppers to don items once or twice before discarding them. Sometimes, it’s not even a choice because the garments are so poorly made that they fall apart after a single wearing.
“The specificity of the fashion business is that it is subject to trends,” says Andrew A. King, professor of business administration at the Tuck School of Business, who has researched the fashion industry. “As such it brings suppliers to seasonally offer consumers new alternatives to stimulate their purchases. Fast fashion poses a threat since its logic is based on copying the designs of high-end producers and quickly diffusing them—sometimes even before the high-end goods, which are based on a complicated and high quality supply chain, are distributed. As such, it mines the overall investment in style by design departments of high end producers.”