A phrase that has become more common is “fast fashion.” It is defined as replicating designer clothes, often seen on catwalks, through mass-production and selling them at lower costs. It has been made possible due to the manufacture of clothing becoming cheaper and easier.
It is also contributed to by sweatshop-like production facilities in countries with few to no workplace safety regulations that pay a pittance in wages. We got a glimpse of this when a Bangladesh manufacturing plant collapsed in 2013 and killed over 1,000 workers.
Model and entrepreneur Laura Iafrate is a vocal opponent of fast fashion for these and several other reasons. One of her two current business projects is designing an athleisure brand based on sustainable fabrics.
It is based on Laura’s belief in conscious fashion and taking care of the environment. Not only does fast fashion take a toll on workers in horrible conditions, but it is also equally devastating to our planet.
One of Laura’s favorite activities is traveling the world with her family. As she visits different places, she has seen firsthand the harm this industry has inflicted on the natural world.
Along with her work in fighting human trafficking, which has similarities to the near-slave labor in sweatshops, conscious fashion is an important cause to this prominent activist, especially since Laura has witnessed why more people need to embrace this practice and reduce the demand for fast fashion.
Simply put, less demand means less supply. The environmental impact of fast fashion includes a large amount of clothing waste which is harder to reuse or recycle due to its low quality. Cheap, trendy garments have an extremely short lifespan as they are essentially a large-scale version of planned obsolescence.
Polyester, a hallmark fabric of fast fashion, is derived from fossil fuels and can shed microfibers that affect marine life. Cheap, toxic dyes are used that end up in untreated wastewater, which pollutes rivers, streams, and lakes that supply drinking water to people and livestock. The air is polluted by greenhouse gases emitted from these production facilities, which poses both short- and long-term health hazards.
These impacts have received a response from socially responsible consumers and designers like Laura: increased demands for sustainable or even zero-waste fashion. The polar opposite of fast fashion, these practices refer to clothing manufactured with little to no waste. While this addresses environmental issues, zero-waste fashion can be grouped under the larger concept of sustainable fashion or eco-fashion.
In addition to fighting harmful pollution, sustainable fashion practices incorporate social justice and ecological integrity. After all, it is not just our planet that suffers from fast fashion; it also affects millions of exploited workers.
Laura’s clothing line will join an elite group of designers to call itself conscious fashion. Being someone who truly practices what she preaches, Laura is a formidable social justice and environmental activist with the goal of making our world a better place. This includes the people of the world, as this top model takes pride in being a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.