A sustainable summer?

As summertime nears, TikTok accelerates the rate at which many people buy fast fashion

The weather is getting warmer and it’s many teenagers’ favorite time of the year, summer. After a cold season, many people’s clothes from last summer don’t fit the same. So they turn to online shopping for some new ones. Many people turn to companies like Zara, Shein, or Forever 21 for their new clothes this summer due to the trendiness and cheapness of the clothing sold, but this low cost comes at a high price.
In 2020, The Clean Clothes Campaign found that 93% are not paying workers a living wage. In significant clothes production countries, like Bangladesh and Cambodia, workers work 14-16 hour days. Many business people advocate that at least they pay the workers, but this is the bare minimum.


Living wage and minimum wage are different, and many don’t understand this. The minimum wage is the wage put on by the government that regulates how much people can be paid. With the average garment worker working 96 hours a week, they spend much of their time working with meager pay. This is not a living wage.
A living wage is a wage that is enough to support the basic needs of a human. These include Housing, Food, water, etc. Many countries, especially ones with a large focus on manufacturing, don’t pay enough for their workers to have a living wage.
“Not everyone can afford expensive more ethical clothes” is many people’s defense for fast fashion, but saying this doesn’t apply to the many people who bulk order from these online stores. Many TikToks show boxes upon boxes from stores like Shein, many of these orders stacking up hundreds of dollars. Although these people get many items, chances are they will end up in a landfill within the year.

This habit is called fashion overconsumption. These people are the ones causing the most damage from fast fashion. Shein is known to keep up with trends and that is the appeal to many for that reason. But, Shein can catch up to these new trends so fast, that they make a lot of new clothes with almost 100 drops daily on their website. This causes an excessive amount of clothes and greenhouse gasses to be put out when it could have been avoided.


Many have found a good way to combat clothing waste is thrifting. “[fast fashion stores] aren’t that cute, also thrifting is fun”, says Clay Bopp ‘22. Many west high students thrift and try to find sustainable ways to shop. Many cite the lack of quality and ethics that come with the cheap price tag. This rise of thrifting is making the summer of 2022 seem like a sustainable summer.