By: Jessica L. 

Buy-Nothing Day, a minor event which occurs the day after Thanksgiving to combat Black Friday, urges people to lower their consumption. Mass consumerism is rampant within more developed countries and most do not know the harmful effects it can have on the world.

Social Media 

The world becomes increasingly interconnected as social media platforms allow the rapid spread of information. As a result, trends emerge rapidly and disappear just as quickly, especially in the fashion world. Previously, the world relied on fashion magazines, like Vogue and Seventeen, to predict and solidify new trends. In recent years, consumers have turned toward social media for this service instead. The monthly cycle of trends has now become a quickly evolving web of ideas. 

A common occurrence on the social media platform TikTok is ‘clothing haul’ videos, in which creators film themselves opening or trying on their new purchases. Because TikTok features exclusively short form video content, it is easy to watch hundreds of these videos in one day. Since consumers tend to mimic the actions shown in the media they witness, this instills the urge to purchase the clothing in them to keep up with what’s trendy. Therefore, both the need to keep up with new trends and the normalization of frivolous spending has led to an increase in mass consumerism.


The fast fashion industry mass produces clothing items that embody recent trends for a low price. However, in exchange for meeting the large demand of consumers, these companies sacrifice the quality of their products.


Further, most of the fast fashion industry uses synthetic rather than organic fabrics. When synthetic fabrics are washed in the laundry, they release micro plastics which are added into the water system to eventually end up in the ocean. One trend that has magnified that effect is light washed denim. The several cycles that it takes to achieve this look greatly increases the output of micro plastics. So, each time you wash clothing made with these synthetic fabrics, you are adding to the 51 trillion micro plastics polluting our marine ecosystems.

Moreover, in order to manufacture these products for such a low price, these companies rely on the cheap labor of textile workers in developing countries, like Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam. These workers, a majority of them being women or young girls, face harsh conditions and excessive hours in sweatshops and receive little pay. 


Supporting fast fashion companies has both environmental and social consequences that question the ethics of consumerism. Although it is unrealistic to ask for people to stop buying clothing forever, reducing the consumption of these products decreases the support for these companies and the harm they do. 

To answer the question of whether a brand is a part of the fast fashion industry, one must research both the type of fabric that they make and where they source their labor from. If they use synthetic rather than organic fabric or labor from a company known for its harsh working conditions, then this company supports the fast fashion industry. If this information is omitted, it is reasonable to assume that the company is hiding their involvement in unethical business practices. 

For more information on the harms of the fast fashion industry and ways you can help, check out these links:,once%20they%20reach%20the%20sea.

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