by Einav Rabinovitch-Fox
Attention-grabbing headlines constantly alert us to the ills of fast fashion. The multi-billion dollar industry churns out mountains of inexpensive-but-stylish clothing, much of it sewn in sweatshop-like factories in Asia and Latin America and sold by popular brands such as Shein, H&M, and Zara. The industry exploits workers, uses harmful chemicals, and causes environmental damage to the planet. The garments it produces are of poor quality, which means consumers keep coming back for more—and the cycle of harm repeats.
Social and environmental justice advocates taking aim at fast fashion direct their criticism (justifiably) toward big retailers and powerful corporations. But some also point fingers at ordinary consumers, who—with the aid of social media and online trade—play into the wasteful ethos that perpetuates this industry. Meanwhile, defenders of fast fashion claim that its global nature is democratizing ...