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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Wilson

The dark side of fast fashion

Are you getting the latest runway trends at a low price? Most people would jump at that opportunity. However, it may be too good to be true.

Most young women are familiar with Boohoo, Fashion Nova, Nasty Gal, PrettyLittleThing or even Missguided. These are all examples of fast fashion brands. These trending companies have become more popular than ever due to their strict online-only presence. With the pandemic, many consumers have resorted to online shopping, which has only boosted these companies' sales.

While these companies may be great for the bank account, what is going on behind the scenes?

A recent alert on PrettyLittleThing’s website stated, "WARNING: Some Products on our Online Store from time to time may contain chemicals that are known to the State of California to cause cancer and congenital disabilities or other reproductive harm and may be included on the Proposition 65 chemical list." This was unsurprisingly horrifying for many consumers. The company casually threw out that their clothing could cause cancer and congenital disabilities. Many people instantly took to Twitter to lash out their concerns.

This wasn't the only health hazard that made the news for the company. Shopper, Georgia Rattray, received an order from PrettyLittleThing with a horde of spiders latched to her clothing items. The story made the news after she posted on Twitter about her terrifying experience.

Although I have only been focusing on PrettyLittleThing, other fast fashion companies have been accused of unethical practices.

In December 2019, The New York Times broke the news that many Fashion Nova garments are stitched together by factory workers in Los Angeles paid illegally low wages. The article noted that the sewers are paid as little as $2.77 an hour. Many people assume that brands like Fashion Nova treat workers fairly. As this investigation uncovered, that is not true.

Forbes provided an in-depth look at the dirty little secret behind fast fashion. Most of these fast fashion companies utilize American sweatshops, forcing workers to work 12 hours a day for a maximum of about $5 an hour. This shows that the illusion that you can live a Kardashian lifestyle for a low price has a dark behind the scenes. The Department of Labor also found that a whopping 85 percent of Los Angeles garment factories have wage violations.

How could they possibly be getting away with it?

The majority of these workers are undocumented immigrants, so it is easy to slide it under the rug.

What can you do?

I'm not saying every single fast fashion website is bad. All I'm saying is that many of these companies' unethical conditions have recently been exposed. If you are against these practices and want to make a difference, ask companies you do business with to work with their suppliers to ensure that workers are paid a living wage and treated fairly. As consumers, we have the power to influence companies’ behaviors, and as a result, generate the changes we desire.

By Natalie Wilson


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