When Fast Fashion is a Women's rights matter
In honor of the International Women’s day, we decided to talk about the impact of Fast fashion on women’s rights. What is the connection?
Let’s start by defining what Fast Fashion is. This term was coined by the New York Times in the 1990s when the first Zara store landed in the US communicating its mission to only take 15 days for a garment to go from design stage to being sold in store. This opened the gates to overproduction, overconsumption, and waste, following in the footsteps of the culture of materialism and disposability.
Over the last 15 years, clothing production has doubled globally. At this pace of production, a question is legit: who makes our clothes, then?
The new way of thinking, heritage of the unbridled consumerisms from the 80’s fueled the industry’s exploitative machine, making consumers disassociate from the very people (mostly women) making their clothes and the environmental consequences of a system reliant on such rapid cycles.
What we do not know is that fast fashion industry was built on the exploitation of Black, Brown and Indigenous women and their labor, with the majority of garment workers been Asian and Southeastern women. According to the data, 85% of garment workers are young women between 18-24 and these young women earn less then 3$ per day.
Global fashion movements such as Fashion Revolution and Re/Make have been raising public awareness on the women behind our garments, their working conditions and low wages with impactful campaigns like #WhoMadeMyClothes and #WearYourValues which demand transparency and accountability from large fast fashion companies.
Did you know....
Fast fashion brands are also complicit in perpetuating the gender inequality and gender-based violence and harassment the industry was built on. Knowing that their mostly male bosses are exempt from punishment, there is more fear around reporting abuse.
What is happening in the world?
- After a year of Covid-19 lockdowns and layoffs, garment workers in Myanmar are the center of ongoing protests against a military coup demanding a restoration of democracy.
- The international Labour Organization estimates that between 600,000 and 790,000 garment worker jobs there may have been affected since the beginning of the pandemic.
So, when you see fast fashion brands celebrating women’s empowerment, remember they are the ones fueling exploitation and continue to withhold payment from factories.
Just to let you know...
Ecofeminism is a movement that explores the connection between the oppression of women and destruction of nature, as consequences of the patriarchy, capitalism and white supremacy.
According to Lissa Brown, a feminist activist and co-founder of the free art collective, “Ecofeminism is an integral facet of the women’s movement because it addresses severing of women and Mother Nature, and the exploitation of both.”
Women made up the majority who embraced 2,000 trees in protest of the felling of Uttarakhand, India. Indeed, women who have acted against ecological destruction are particularly aware of the connection between patriarchal abuse and nature.
Ecofeminism advocates for the dismantling of the patriarchy to protect both the planet and society for future generations, our planet and to life itself.
Schiro, Anne-marie. “Fashion; Two New Stores That Cruise Fashion’s Fast Lane.” The New York Times, 31 Dec.1989
Reichart, Elizabeth, and Deborah Drew. “By the Numbers: The Economic, Social and Environmental Impacts of ‘Fast Fashion.’” World Resources Institute, 8 Sept. 2020.
“Human Rights.” The True Cost
“Violence in he Garments Industry: infographic.” Global Fund for Women, 25 Apr. 2019
“Pay Your Workers”. Clean Clothes Campaign, 2 Mar. 2021
"Who Made My Clothes Archives” Fashion Revolution.