The Beginning Of The End Of Fast Fashion

Public outcry and constant protests like the Climate Strikes being held across the globe have put saving the planet at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Millennials and Generation Z are the most active in the pursuit, they also happen to be the ones gaining purchasing power. 


@itslittlelily on Instagram

@itslittlelily on Instagram

As these generations come into adulthood they have to make the choice of which brands to buy all on their own. Some may have brand loyalty they formed through their teen years but most are still looking for the perfect brands that fit their moral code. 

With fashion being one of the top polluting industries, those coming of age have a huge decision to make. Do they buy into fast fashion because it’s quick and easy even though it’s doing more harm than good? Or do they rise up against it? 

I’m happy to say they’ve chosen to stand against fast fashion in its entirety. This week Forever 21, the biggest fast-fashion retailer in the global market, has filed for bankruptcy. With annual revenue falling by over $1 Billion USD this past year, the retail giant has decided it’s best to change course. 

Forever 21 experienced great success in the early 2000s. Even during the recession, they were expanding their stores to cities in Latin America and Europe. CEO Do Won Chang explains why, “old people wanted to be 21 again, and young people wanted to be 21 forever.”


@forever21 on Instagram

@forever21 on Instagram

The retailer is set to shut down operations in at least 40 different countries in hopes to “simplify” things. VP Linda Chang says things got a little too complicated when they had mass expanded in such a short amount of time. They grew their number of stores and available merchandise but didn’t take into consideration shifting tastes. 

For a decade fast fashion ran the world. Everyone wanted what was coming down the runway but didn’t want the price tag. They wanted their trends fast and cheap and competitors like Zara and H&M also quickly rose to the top. Soon the tides began to change and slowly smaller low budget malls lost foot traffic. Many of them have closed and with it went Forever 21. 

The current 20-something consumer doesn’t want a cheap $2 top anymore. They are conscious buyers who would rather get less for more if that meant they were buying into sustainable fashion. Arguably, there is no need for fast fashion anymore. At the rate at which we’re shifting, in 5 years' time, there will be no fast fashion. Or at least one can hope.


MAIN IMAGE CREDIT: HARUKA SAKAGUCHI FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES