Fast Fashion: Quantifying the Benefits

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As mass production in fast fashion increases, concerns have been made aware regarding to how it affects everyday consumers. The Copenhagen Fashion Summit reported that, “The fashion industry is responsible for producing twenty per cent of global wastewater and ten per cent of global carbon emissions – more than the emissions of all international flights and maritime shipping combined.” Fast fashion is defined by Investopedia as, “a term used by fashion retailers to describe inexpensive designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to meet new trends.” Various sources such as Dr. Patsy Perry claim that the issue of fast fashion is it being a compromise on the quantity of clothes over quality. However, there are arguments stating otherwise that the cheaply made clothes are a profit for consumers as a “neurological pleasure.” The main question within this issue is whether or not the benefits of fast fashion outweigh the costs?

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Through the textile use from the mass production of fast fashion, Dr. Perry describes them to be toxic and harmful to our marine life and ourselves. In Dr. Perry’s argument, she suggests that textile dyeing is a major pollutant to our global waters, “they are toxic, bio-accumulative (meaning the substance builds up in an organism faster than the organism can excrete or metabolise it), disruptive to hormones and carcinogenic.” The evidence showing the extent of textiles to the point where they have been banned from their toxicity could be considered as strong for the logical shock value it evokes strengthening her claim. Furthermore, cotton is commonly grown to be made for textiles but it is shown to have negative environmental health effects stated by Dr. Perry, “Most cotton grown worldwide is genetically modified to be resistant to the bollworm pest, thereby improving yield and reducing pesticide use. But this can also lead to problems further down the line, such as the emergence of ‘superweeds’ which are resistant to standard pesticides.” A documentary called The True Cost is showcased presenting the impact of chemicals used to grow cotton textiles which includes birth defects in children and brain tumors. The story was a strength as an attempt to scaremonger people of the prolonged effects of cotton growing in support of Dr. Perry’s argument, yet it alludes to extreme illogical hypotheticals somewhat diminishing her claim.

As stated, the magnitude of textile production from fast fashion has demonstrated to be destructive as noted by James Hitchings-Hale through the dangerous ethics in their working conditions, ‘He pulled me out of the chair and I fell on the floor. He hit me, including on my breasts. He pulled me up and then pushed me to the floor again [and] kicked me.’ The testimony made by Radhika, an employee at an H&M factory in Bangalore, exploits the physical abuse that violated human rights in an unsafe workplace. Radhika strengthens Hitchings-Hale’s argument with first-hand experience as a victim to fast fashion evoking pity to support his claim, while this may be true the emotions portrayed does not have anything to do with the correctness of his argument therefore slightly weakening it. Also, a report is shown in regard to the underpaid workers in these factories, “The undercover operation found that some child refugees were paid less than £1 an hour, and that health and safety regulations were forgoed for the sake of the production line.”

Fast fashion companies has denied worker’s rights of minimum wage and has illegally allowed inhumane child labor. The sources used for this argument have good credentials but do have flaws to them. Dr. Perry’s credibility as a source in this argument is increased for her expertise as an associate professor in fashion marketing at the University of Manchester. Dr. Perry is a recipient of the Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy; this factor increases her reliability as a source. This also means her reputation as a professor also increases the credibility of her argument. However, as a publicist of multiple articles discussing related issues to fast fashion she could be seen to have bias, if considered, her credibility as a source is weakened. Dr. Perry has first hand industry experience in retailing and marketing and isn’t therefore simply viewing this issue from a fashion consumer perspective; this factor increases her reliability as a source. James Hitchings-Hale’s credibility as a source in this argument is increased for his expertise as a digital/communications assistant at Global Citizen. However, as a publicist of multiple articles discussing related issues to equality he could be seen to have bias, if considered, his credibility as a source is weakened.

Although Dr. Perry presents valid arguments in support of the benefits of fast fashion does not outweigh the costs, much of her argument is based on illogical reasoning. One instance Dr. Perry does this is in her evidence in support of through textile use from the mass production of fast fashion, they pose as a threat to marine life and ourselves. This is a cause-effect error because she claims a single cause of toxicity for the discontinuation of some textiles, but there are multiple reasons for why it might have happened. Along with textiles, Dr. Perry presents a retailer standpoint in the fast fashion industry and how they sell more products. This is an either/or thinking fallacy because it states a complicated issue in a straightforward way for the readers to conclude.

Marc Bain states that through the cheaply made clothes of fast fashion, they are a neurological pleasure to consumers. In Bain’s argument, he presents a 2007 study carried by Stanford, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon and how we as humans react to different prices of clothing, “The researchers found that when they showed one of the study’s subjects a desirable object for sale, the pleasure center, or nucleus ambens, in the subject’s brain lit up. The more the person wanted the item, the more activity the fMRI detected.” This evidence could be considered to be strong for how it was written in a straightforward manner, yet it is very fast to be conclusive and does not mention the range of evidence and how many test subjects participated. Additionally, Bain cites a variety of professors as testimonial evidence to support his claim. Their expertise shown could be considered as a strength, yet in turn they could have bias themselves as they regularly study this issue and formed their own opinion, slightly weakening the argument. Bain’s credibility as a source in this argument is increased for his expertise as a fashion reporter at Quartz. Bain has first hand experience working for a designer menswear label; this factor increases his reliability as a source. However, as a publicist of multiple articles discussing related issues to fashion he could be seen to have bias, if considered, his credibility as a source is weakened.

Although Mr. Bain presents valid arguments in support of the benefits of fast fashion does outweigh the costs, much of his argument is based on illogical reasoning. One instance Mr. Bain does this is in his statement on consumers and fast fashion and how “unhappy and unfulfilled,” it can be. This is an appeal to pity fallacy because he is appealing to the audience’s emotions to support his argument, yet this weakens it and contradicts his claim of how beneficial fast fashion is. Moreover, Mr. Bain states that the only way retailers can profit cheap clothing is to mass produce. This is an either/or thinking fallacy because it states a complicated issue in a straightforward way for the readers to conclude.

Common fast fashion retailers can be strategically encouraging in their marketing of low prices, which is an issue without knowing the inhumane labor and environmental impact fast fashion has. I believe that we should rethink the way we buy clothes. The satisfaction of getting a good bargain is only temporary in comparison to the everlasting effects of fast fashion on our society. We as consumers should educate ourselves into buying higher quality clothing that is sustainable. Yet, there should be further research on how to compromise the production of sustainable clothing to be at readily available prices.

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Fast Fashion: Quantifying the Benefits. (2021, Apr 08). Retrieved November 30, 2022 , from
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