With ever-changing trends, shopping for clothes and staying up-to-date has become an integral part of the fashion lifestyle. There is an increased demand for new and modern styles. To keep up, the clothing industry began to produce excessive stocks. They create new sub-trends to meet the whims and fancies of their consumers and quickly discard any stocks that don’t match the latest micro-seasonal trend. This has given rise to the fast fashion trend. Fast fashion is all about keeping up with fast-paced changes in the fashion industry. It makes clothes more accessible and affordable to customers. But, behind all the glamor and glitz of the newest designs, there is the saddening reality of the effects of the fashion industry on the environment. Fashion industry and pollution go hand in hand; thus, it is important to understand these fashion impacts and find out ways to curb them. Before we do that, let's take a quick look at what fast fashion is and the clothing footprint it leaves behind.

Fast Fashion Industry and Pollution: Understanding the Clothing Footprint 

What is Fast Fashion

The fast fashion trend is part of a notorious cycle of overproduction and over-consumption that makes the fashion industry one of the largest contributors to environmental pollution. It is a business model that makes low-cost and trendy styles available to consumers at breakneck speed. It works on the principle of making the newest styles available in the market at the snap of a finger.

How Fast Fashion Impacts the Environment

The effects of the fashion industry on the environment are staggering. The fast fashion trend continuously depletes natural resources and causes pollution – taking a heavy toll on the planet. In its objective of providing customers with cheap and trendy clothes within a few days, the fashion industry leaves behind a huge clothing footprint that adversely affects the environment.

Increases Landfill Waste

One of the most drastic effects of the fast fashion carbon footprint is seen on land. Fast-fashion clothes are mostly made of poor-quality materials that cannot be used for long and find their way into landfills. The fast-paced change in trends also causes retailers to dump their outdated stocks in open landfills where they take years to decompose and release harmful greenhouse gases.

Causes Water Pollution

The use of toxic chemicals for their dyeing and finishing processes, in the fast fashion industry, extensively pollutes water bodies. Plastics used in packaging reach waterbodies and add to their pollution, thereby increasing the fast fashion carbon footprint on the planet.

Overuses Natural and Man-Made Resources

Fast fashion uses cotton to create designs rapidly. Cotton requires large amounts of water for irrigation, causing freshwater wastage. The constant production of clothes in factories also requires excessive amounts of energy and electricity. Moreover, the overuse of natural fibers also contributes to deforestation.

Steps to Minimize the Effects of the Fashion Industry on the Environment

We have read how fast fashion impacts the environment and leaves behind ecological degradation in its wake. But, how do we stop this rapid pollution and depletion of natural resources? Here are a few steps that everyone can follow to reduce the clothing footprint that fast fashion leaves behind. 

What can Brands Do to Reduce Fast Fashion Impacts?

Let's take a look at a few steps that designers, retailers, and brands can collectively take to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Use Organic and Recycled Materials
Brands can start using organic and recycled materials to produce their clothing. Fibers like organic cotton require less amount of water for irrigation and none of the harmful pesticides, thus they can help to preserve freshwater resources. By using materials made from recycled goods, brands can also contribute towards cleaning up water bodies and lands. Recycled polyester fabric is produced from non-biodegradable plastic bottles that would otherwise find their way into the oceans or landfills and add to the pollution. 

Use Natural Dyeing and Finishing Processes
Brands can reduce the use of harmful and toxic chemicals for dyeing, printing, and finishing and embrace the use of natural dyes and safe chemicals to create their designs. This small change would greatly help in reducing wastewater generation and will also be safe for consumers.

Advocate for Slow Fashion
Brands should focus on creating high-quality products that can stand the test of time and stay relevant even in the future. This approach will significantly reduce the rampant consumption of fast fashion and minimize clothing waste.

What can Consumers Do to Reduce Fast Fashion Impacts?

It's not just brands that need to take a step toward sustainability – consumers can do their bit too. Here’s how: 

Invest in Quality over Quantity
Fast fashion clothing might be cheap but it is usually of poor quality. Instead of buying cheap fast-fashion clothing, consumers can start investing in good-quality clothes that will last them longer. It will not only reduce the fashion impacts on the environment but will also be cheaper for customers in the long run.

Choose Sustainable Fashion Brands
With the advent of sustainable fashion, lots of brands are following eco-friendly practices that support the environment. Consumers can pick their next styles from these sustainable brands. Look for brands that are certified for Fair Trade or Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), and support safe working conditions, fair wages, and ecological production methods.

Wash Clothes With Care
Washing clothes regularly not only reduces their lifespan but also wastes water and energy. Customers can read the wash-care instructions carefully and wash their garments only when needed. Use cold water, go for eco-friendly detergents and air dry your clothes to minimize their impact on the environment.


It is no secret that fast fashion impacts the environment drastically. However, once we understand the effects of the fashion industry on the environment, it becomes easier to find ways to reduce its impact. Sustainability is the need of the hour, and brands and consumers alike must take steps toward minimizing the clothing footprint and making the planet resourceful for future generations as well.

Raw Revel is one brand that follows sustainability to the core. Browse through its collection and help the environment while looking great.
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