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How Your Addiction To Fast Fashion Kills

Author: Amy Odell

Odell, Amy. “How Your Addiction To Fast Fashion Kills.” BuzzFeed, BuzzFeed, 2 May 2013, www.buzzfeed.com/amyodell/how-your-addiction-to-fast-fashion-kills.

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Is shopping “the new terrorism”?

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The collapsed Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. Bangladesh / Reuters
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If you’re an average consumer, there’s a good chance you shop at affordable places like H&M, Forever 21, Zara, or JCPenney. These stores fuel and fulfill our demand for fast fashion — trendy, cheap things we can easily discard as soon as the clothes fall apart or the next covetable fad comes along. But they also fuel an unsustainable demand for dirt cheap labor available in the extremely poor nations like Bangladesh, where the death toll from the collapsed Rana Plaza factory has passed 400 and is expected to climb by hundreds more.

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Edward H (Jun 23 2021 12:06PM) : consumers like to shop at affordable places for cheap clothing that they can discard an easily replace , but this also affects the cheap labor in nations like Bangladesh
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Luis C (Jun 23 2021 12:19PM) : Central idea [Edited] more

shoppers are helping the demand for dirt cheap labor from other countries and companies are exploiting them.

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Savannah P (Jun 23 2021 12:35PM) : Most people don't really know where to go to shop for cheap affordable trendy clothes for themself.
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Marisa C (Jun 23 2021 12:47PM) : fast fashion is a cause by many companies especially name brands that everybody buys from.
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Michelle J (Jun 23 2021 12:00PM) : what is fast fashion? more

Fast fashion – Trendy and cheap things that are easy to replace.

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Ghaleb A (Jun 23 2021 12:01PM) : people shop at affordable places like H&M Forever 21 so as soon the clothes fall apart they can throw them away without losing a lot of money. The wages at Rana Plaza are 14 cents an hour.

“Virtually every major brand that we shop at is producing in Bangladesh,” said Elizabeth Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Price of Cheap Fashion. “I would say the problems at Rana Plaza are not specific to that building, and they’re not just specific to the brands operating in that building” — they’re pervasive in the whole country, where labor goes for 14 cents an hour.

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Veronica M (Jun 23 2021 12:02PM) : A lot of brands shop in Bangladesh because it's cheaper. This shows they only care about what's the cheapest price.
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Marisa C (Jun 23 2021 12:50PM) : A lot of things are bought from Bangladesh because it's affordable and cheap.
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Jennifer A (Jun 23 2021 12:18PM) : people shop at affordable places where the clothes are cheap without thinking about the effect the cheap labor has on the people working to make the items. [Edited]
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Ariana O (Jun 23 2021 12:24PM) : I agree with you because people can be so blind and not really think about the type of clothes that they are getting

Clothing manufacturing conditions in Bangladesh are typically terrible across the board. The infrastructure is awful (an engineer saw cracks in Rana Plaza’s facade the day before the collapse, but nothing was done about it), the workers sometimes don’t even receive their wages, and local authorities don’t enforce building codes. Yet with the demand for fast fashion an all-time high, more and more clothes are being made in the kinds of conditions that morally offend a lot of people in the Western world — and without these kinds of well-publicized tragedies, shoppers don’t even think about it.

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Edward H (Jun 23 2021 12:08PM) : Working conditions are horrible and the workers are being treated inhumanely
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Marisa C (Jun 23 2021 12:53PM) : The factory workers are not being treated fairly especially the type of work environment they are working in.
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Ghaleb A (Jun 23 2021 12:07PM) : Sometimes the works don't receive their wages.
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Michelle J (Jun 23 2021 12:10PM) : who is responsible? more

The building already looked like it was going to collapse and when the engineer saw the cracks, they didn’t do anything about it. When the workers don’t receive the wages they earned local authorities don’t do anything about it.

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Luis C (Jun 23 2021 12:23PM) : Central idea more

The workers are forced to work under unsafe circumstances when even warned by an engineer the owners still didn’t care.

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“The reason we have fast fashion is the cheap exploited labor around the world,” said Cline. She estimates that “less than 10% of what we’re wearing… was made in factories where people were paid a living wage and working in safe and legal conditions.”

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Edward H (Jun 23 2021 12:10PM) : the majority of the clothing we are wearing is made in factories where the wages are bad and where people are working in unsafe conditions
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Savannah P (Jun 23 2021 12:30PM) : They were given with 10% legal conditions yet they made cheap fashion clothes but didn't receive their wages an makes it unfair.
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Luis C (Jun 23 2021 12:36PM) : Central idea more

She talks about how 10% of the clothes they are wearing is made in a safe factory.

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Veronica M (Jun 23 2021 12:09PM) : 10% of what we wear was made ethically but what about the other 90%? workers make cheap fast-fashion clothes but don't receive their wages.
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Michelle J (Jun 23 2021 12:13PM) : LESS THAN $10 PERCENT more

It is less likely the clothing you are wearing was made by someone who works minimum wage.

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Ariana O (Jun 23 2021 12:17PM) : opinion: people don't realize the how bad their conditions are and think its nit a big deal but in reality people are losing their lives over this.
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Jennifer A (Jun 23 2021 12:26PM) : The demand for fast fashion has more and more clothes being made in places where they don't enforce codes to keep things safe.

Sustainable fashion writer and consultant Amy DuFault has come to think of shopping as a form of terrorism. “It’s just something to think about,” she said, “This idea of shopping as the new sort of terrorism. And it sounds dramatic, but if you think about it it’s actually really true — we have control over what’s happening in the environment, the people and planet.”

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Ghaleb A (Jun 23 2021 12:19PM) : countries like Bangladesh and pakistan have cheap clothes and the US and chain have there clothes for a higher price because they are in better quality.
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Michelle J (Jun 23 2021 12:29PM) : . more

Amy thinks shopping is a form of terrorism because we have control over what’s happening in the environment, the people, and the planet.

A host of complicated factors have contributed to this disturbing, massive exploitation of the world’s cheapest labor. First, labor costs in China, where infrastructure and technology are not necessarily great but still better than what you find in countries like Bangladesh or Pakistan, have increased. So stores wanting to deliver fast fashion to consumers at competitive prices are moving on to cheaper labor in Bangladesh. Also, in 2005 the U.S. government lifted quotas on imports, allowing U.S. companies to import as many clothes from impoverished nations as they wish, which experts believe really helped fuel the explosion of fast fashion.

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Edward H (Jun 23 2021 12:16PM) : Companies want to make faster money by moving to cheaper labor and giving clothing to the consumer at cheaper prices
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Ariana O (Jun 23 2021 12:30PM) : I have never thought of us being "terrorist" to these people that work very hard but it is something to think about and very much change that.
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Veronica M (Jun 23 2021 12:16PM) : do you think we shoppers have the fault to why workers get put in these situations?

Another big problem with the manufacturing process is the use of subcontractors, which are extremely hard to supervise. Large companies that make things in different places all over the world hire subcontractors to find them factories to manufacture things. Those factories might subcontract to other factories, which makes it really hard for even companies that have reputable monitoring agencies to keep track of everything going on in the supply chain.

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Ariana O (Jun 23 2021 12:50PM) : it was hard for the companies to keep track of everything and be on top of things
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Ghaleb A (Jun 23 2021 12:23PM) : The companies don't really care if they lose 100 of workers.
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Luis C (Jun 23 2021 12:52PM) : Central idea more

The bigger they grow the harder it is to monitor how the factories are doing

Ultimately, it’s the companies’ jobs to ensure their goods are ethically produced, however, “The companies are not filled with bad guys rubbing their hands together saying, who cares if we lose a couple hundred workers?” noted Susan Scafidi, a professor of fashion law at Fordham.

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Veronica M (Jun 23 2021 12:22PM) : Most companies don't care about their workers getting injured. why do I say that, because most companies don't practice safety drills nor do they have someone going around checking if the workers are okay.
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“Focusing more on infrastructure is something these companies need to do, but even the most well-meaning companies are going to have a tough time. They really have to rely on third-person monitoring if they’re a small company,” continued Scafidi. “It is truly a headache for the industry right now.”

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Ghaleb A (Jun 23 2021 12:42PM) : some companies have to rely on a third-person monitoring if they're a small company.
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Michelle J (Jun 23 2021 12:51PM) : opinion more

Infrastructure is something the companies should be worried about since these workers don’t even get paid minimum wage.

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So, how can you tell if you’re getting something that’s ethically made? An easy but imperfect way is to look at the label. Scafidi called Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Honduras “the worst of the worst.” Garments from China are likely to be made by workers in better conditions than you find in a place like Bangladesh. “There is no safe Bangladeshi label right now,” Scafidi warned.

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Edward H (Jun 23 2021 12:24PM) : Places like Bangladesh,pakistan,and honduras are the worst places for clothing and products of clothing from china are most likely being made by people in better conditions than these other countries
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Veronica M (Jun 23 2021 12:26PM) : I think we the buyers shouldn't be the ones checking the labels to see where they were made, it should've been the store's job to check them to see if they were ethically made. [Edited]
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Ghaleb A (Jun 23 2021 12:48PM) : If you get a piece of cloth and it's from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Honduras it is the worst of the worst.
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Michelle J (Jun 23 2021 12:53PM) : . more

Your clothes are ethically made if it’s from china since it’s most likely they’re working in safer and better conditions.

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Concerned shoppers should also look for clothes bearing a Made in the U.S.A. label. American Apparel (which has its own problems, but exploiting cheap labor in Bangladesh is not one of them) makes everything here.

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Edward H (Jun 23 2021 12:26PM) : Clothing made in the U.S has its own problems but it exploiting cheap labor is not one of them
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Ghaleb A (Jun 23 2021 12:52PM) : some consumers look at the label to make sure if its made in the U.S.A because they don't like the other cheap labor.

Other labels focused on ethically manufactured clothes but that don’t produce everything in the U.S. include Everlane and Eileen Fisher, the latter of which Cline admires for its transparency about their manufacturing process — something most stores lack in spades. Eileen Fisher admits that not all of their manufacturing is perfect (some things are made in China, where factory conditions have improved drastically in the last decade) but they carry a lot of explicitly labeled fair trade and organic items. You can find a sizable list of other ethically minded brands on Cline’s website.

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Veronica M (Jun 23 2021 12:34PM) : they don't really point out the imperfections in manufacturing.
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But ultimately, the industry won’t be more transparent about its manufacturing processes as a whole unless consumers demand it. “Every interview I’ve done in the past few days, people are asking where can we shop instead. I think this is a real turning point,” Cline said. Besides, there’s nowhere else for companies to go for cheaper labor right now — Bangladesh was the last stop for rock bottom prices.

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Edward H (Jun 23 2021 12:31PM) : The fast fashion industry wont be clear about what goes on in it's manufacturing processes with their products unless the consumers begin to have a demand for it
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Scafidi and Cline believe consumers would pay a little bit more to shop somewhere with ethical manufacturing standards. After all, what would mean more to you as a consumer? Having one more super-cheap shirt, or waiting a little longer to buy a shirt but having the peace of mind knowing that shirt was made by workers treated not just humanely, but fairly?

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Edward H (Jun 23 2021 12:35PM) : If more consumers knew about what really goes on in the fast fashion industry they would change their ways and begin buying clothing knowing that it is ethically made.
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Veronica M (Jun 23 2021 12:46PM) : I think consumers wouldn't actually wait for something to be made ethically but maybe if it was pointed out more that would definitely change the consumer's mind.

Of course realistically, it’s hard for consumers to remember these tragedies every time they shop. Shopping is an emotional and often impulsive experience for most of us — we’re looking for a cheap pick-me-up after a bad day, or a dress to impress a date. “There will never be any visual cue in the store to say, hey think about [how clothes are made]. It’s an atmosphere designed to make you not think about where the things came from, but to think about how much fun the clothes will be,” Scafidi said.

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Apparel companies have a lot of power, though. They’ve certainly proved they can change the way we think about shopping. “They’ve fed us fast fashion, they’ve fed us cheap and chic, and constantly changing [merchandise], and they’ve benefitted a lot from that. So they have to be partners with the American consumer in changing our shopping habits,” Scafidi said. “You have to bring your conscience with you into a store. It’s worth dragging along because in the longer term it’s better for everybody.”

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Edward H (Jun 23 2021 12:49PM) : These clothing companies have power because of the consumers who are constantly buying their cheap clothing which they benefit from.
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Veronica M (Jun 23 2021 12:50PM) : It isn't better for everyone when the worker making the clothes get treated horribly over fast fashion. [Edited]

A family member of a victim of the Rana Plaza collapse tries to identify her sister-in-law’s remains.Ismail Ferdous / AP
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DMU Timestamp: May 25, 2021 22:33

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Jonathan L (Jun 23 2021 12:21PM) : people dont know where else to shop for affordable trendy clothes.
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