Is It Possible for Fast Fashion to be Environmentally Sustainable?




Bartol, Lindsay

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Fast fashion has been proven to have detrimental effects on the environment, largely in terms of carbon emissions, water usage, harmful chemicals, and textile waste. However, despite growing awareness of the negative impacts, consumer purchasing behavior is not shifting away from fast fashion in the near future. In result, it is important to evaluate whether or not fast fashion itself can become more environmentally sustainable. To evaluate ability of fast fashion to be environmentally sustainable, I outlined the current effects of fast fashion before summarizing what an ideal sustainable fashion economy would look like. Then, I defined what it means to be environmentally sustainable in the context of this paper in terms of carbon emissions, water usage, and harmful chemicals. After that, I researched what innovations are currently available that can be applied to the fast fashion business model to make it more environmentally sustainable. Finally, I evaluated whether or not these innovations have the ability to make fast fashion into a sustainable business model. In conclusion, I found that fast fashion has the potential to become environmentally sustainable in terms of carbon emissions and water usage, reducing impact by 79.1% and 29.6%, respectively. Additionally, at least 81% of harmful chemicals can be eliminated. Further considerations that should be taken into account when considering sustainability as a whole include other environmental factors such as plastic waste and impact on biodiversity as well as non-environmental factors such as animal welfare and treatment of workers in the supply chain.



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