Blame the companies, not the consumers


Heidi Lozano, Staff Writer

Fast fashion has been a topic of controversy in recent years. Fast fashion is known as “…cheap, trendy clothing, that samples ideas from the catwalk or celebrity culture and turns them into garments in high street stores at breakneck speed to meet consumer demand,” according to the article “What is Fast Fashion” from Good on You, a website that talks about sustainability.  It’s been a center of controversy because of the working conditions at their factories and the negative impact on the environment.


 These are valid reasons to oppose fast fashion, but by hating on the consumers you aren’t helping anyone. People don’t realize the luxury of shopping ethically. Some people buy fast fashion because of the wide variety in sizes and the low prices. 


To start, many ethical stores don’t have a wide range of sizes compared to fast fashion stores. When looking at ethical stores such as Alternative Apparel and Pact, their sizing is very limited. Looking at Alternative Apparel, their women’s tops go up to 2XL and the men’s tops go up to 5XL. They have ostracized an entire community because of their body type. How can you tell people to shop ethically when there are no options for them?


 The same goes for Pact, whose women’s tops usually go to 2XL. For the men’s tops, they usually go to XL. You can’t claim to be “Earth’s Favorite Clothing Company” when an entire group of people can’t shop from your store. Their statement is well-meant, but they don’t realize that they’re missing an entire group of people because they aren’t plus size-inclusive. Compare those stores to Shein; you can see the reason why people still shop from there. 


When you go to Shein, you can see their inclusivity. Not only do their tops go up to 4XL for women and men, but they also have an entire section dedicated to plus-size people. Although it might not be perfect, at least it’s a start. Although plus-size people might want to shop ethically, they don’t have as many options. They have to resort to fast fashion.


Pricing is another factor that plays into people’s decisions. In Everlane, their prices might be too expensive. One of their cheaper tops is $18. It’s a simple shirt that you can buy a pack of for cheaper. Not everyone can drop $18 for one basic shirt. In Alternative Apparel, one of their cheaper tops is $28. You can buy multiple shirts from a fast fashion store for the price of one. H&M has shirts cheaper than that. A women’s shirt on the cheaper side is $2.99. 


If given the opportunity to buy one shirt or multiple shirts for the same price, many would choose the latter. Times are hard right now and people’s priority isn’t shopping ethically, but saving as much money as they can. Shopping ethically is expensive and there aren’t many stores that are cheap and ethical. Consumerism makes us feel like we have to buy all the new clothes to have meaning in our lives.  We are encouraged to buy as much as we even if it means we damage the environment. We get roped in by the cheap prices and the trendy clothes. Fast fashion seems to be the solution to consumerism. 


We see a lot of the criticism of fast fashion go towards the consumers and not the corporations.  It’s the responsibility of the companies to be ethical, yet the responsibility is put on the consumers. There won’t be any change if we don’t send criticism to the companies. There will always be people who shop fast fashion, and the companies won’t change because they’re not the ones receiving the criticism.


 According to Business Insider’s article “H&M reports $229 million in quarterly profits — 10 times higher than analysts forecast”, “The world’s second-biggest fashion retailer made around 2 billion Swedish kronor ($229 million) in profit before tax for the June to August quarter. Its shares were up 11% in early trading.”  


They have the resources to make their company ethical but they don’t. In this situation, how is it the consumer’s fault? At the end of the day, it’s up to the company to make the changes, not the consumers. Writing hate comments because they buy clothes from fast fashion isn’t going to change anything. 


Consumerism has made companies greedy and left the consumers with no power. When it comes to fast fashion, there’s no one to blame but the companies. Customers have their hands tied. They are left with no choice but to shop fast fashion because of sizing and pricing.