On September 29th, 2019 the large fast fashion retailer Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy. This came with the announcement that they would be closing 350 stores in 40 countries with 178 of them US-based.
They confessed that mall foot traffic had slowed in comparison to online shopping and online retailers were difficult to compete with.
Rumors have circulated around this for months and the theories for why this happened vary.
One theory is that they expanded their stores globally too quickly. Another is that it speaks to the decline of malls and a third theory states that it may be an indication of a decline in fast fashion.
What is fast fashion?
According to The Standard, fast fashion is:
“…inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.”
If you care to learn more, check out my post, Why Fast Fashion is Terrible, but just know that here at Jaded Local, we’re not fans.
The carbon footprint on our already struggling planet is massive due to cheap materials, synthetic dyes, and tons of waste dumping. These clothes are so cheaply made, they fill up our landfills after a short life and the cycle continues.
And remember the 2013 collapse of the clothing manufacturer in Bangladesh that killed 1134 people? We know that many of the working conditions of these brands are unhealthy, unsafe, undignifying, and some operate through enslavement.
In fact, in 2012 Forever 21 was being investigated for sweatshop labor and exploitation of high school-aged workers.
So what does this mean for the future of fast fashion?
In short, we don’t know. Fast-fashion giants like Old Navy, Target, and Costco are still thriving. Old Navy plans to open 800 new stores.
However, other brands are considering new materials that are more eco-friendly and are shifting the way they think about disposable clothing.
The good news is that in the past 5 years, consumers have become much more aware and conscious of how they’re buying habits affect the environment, economies, and workers who produce cheap clothing.
We have seen impressive growth for websites like ThredUp and Poshmark with more and more buyers engaging in the process of buying and selling second-hand clothing.
Fast Company also found good news:
“There’s some evidence that these young people are more likely to be drawn to ethical, sustainable companies. One recent report by Nielsen found that 73% of millennials around the world are willing to spend more money on sustainable brands.
It seems twenty somethings may see fast fashion as downright unfashionable.”
Jaded Local is so proud to be part of the movement towards sustainable, ethical, and responsible clothing.
I love the idea of taking a preloved garment (I see you, denim jackets) and refreshing it for a new life. In my shop you will find funky pieces of preowned, upcycled, and repurposed clothing with lots of personality.
Browse through and take a step towards reusing and upcycling amazing finds and at the same time caring for other humans and the planet by holding manufacturers accountable and keeping cheap and toxic materials out of our landfills.