A scavenger collects scraps of used clothing from a slum in North Jakarta. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)

Fast Fashion's You Better Don'ts


MARCH 16, 2020

With so many collections produced in a year, fast fashion also leaves behind a lot of waste that's never properly managed. 

Elizabeth Cline, in her book "Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion," says the affordability of fast fashion has created a shift in the value of clothes. 


People get easily bored with their not-so-old clothes and they don't think twice about throwing them away and replace them with the latest in high street fashion. 

Fast fashion manufacturers can produce up to 42 collections in a year, which easily results in overproduction.

Most of them burn their unsold stock. H&M burnt around 19 tons of jeans in 2017 and Burberry burnt $38 million worth of unsold stock in 2018.

Dana Thomas in his book "Fashionopolis" says fast fashion brands don't design their products to last long, because more than 60 percent of fabric made today are made from synthetic materials rather than yarn so it will be cheaper to produce new clothes than to recycle the yarn from the unsold clothes.

A report from the Ellen McArthur Foundation said the fashion industry is still using an outdated make-wear-throw away economic model that produces heaps of waste and pollution, costing the industry $500 billion per year.

Fast fashion also poses a serious threat to the environment. The solution: fashionistas and their wannabes must change their consumption behavior while the government must redesign the industry's model into one based on environmentally-friendly principles.  

A girl watch a clothes through a window in a shopping mall in Jakarta
A girl looks at mannequins on display at a mall in Jakarta. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)
Two models during a fashion show in Jakarta MRT
Two models during a fashion show on Jakarta's MRT. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)
Jakarta residents enjoy sale in a shopping mall
Jakarta residents throng to a sale at a department store. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)
A worker carries a bunch of used clothes
A worker carries a pile of denim scraps. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)
Textile workers in a jeans production industry in Jakarta
Workers at a jeans factory in Jakarta. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)
A worker carries a pile of fashion waste to a truck in Jakarta
A bag of fashion waste being loaded into a truck in Jakarta. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)
Workers sort out unsold clothes in a fashion waste collectors in Jakarta
Workers sort out unsold pieces of clothing at a tip in Jakarta. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)
A mannequin is placed in between a pile of fashion waste
A mannequin in between a pile of fashion waste in a Jakarta landfill. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)