By Cheyenne Torres When people think about fashion, fast is the last word that comes to mind. Fast fashion is actually more of an issue than people realize. Fast fashion is a term used to describe a highly profitable business model based on replicating catwalk trends and high-fashion designs and mass-producing them at a low cost. The term fast fashion is also used to generically describe the products of the fast fashion business model. To break this down a little bit more, fast fashion has low-priced but stylish clothing that moves quickly from design to retail stores to meet trends, with new collections being introduced continuously. Innovations in supply chain management among retailers make fast fashion possible. Zara and H&M are two giants in the fast fashion field. But why is fast fashion a bad thing? What could possibly be so wrong with having clothes go through the industry faster? Well for starters fast fashion includes not paying fair living wages to workers, poor working conditions, child labor, environmental destruction from hazardous chemicals, plastic-derived materials, and increasing amounts of water pollution and textile waste. Fast fashion does not play favorites in the environmental community. Soil is a fundamental element of our ecosystem. We need healthy soil for food production but also to absorb CO2. The massive, global degradation of soil is one of the main environmental issues our planet is currently facing. It presents a major threat to global food security and also contributes to global warming. The fashion industry plays a major part in degrading soil in different ways due to overgrazing of pastures through cashmere goats and sheep raised for their wool as well as degradation of the soil due to massive use of chemicals to grow cotton. They also have deforestation caused by wood-based fibers like rayon. There are some advantages to fast fashion. Fast fashion has been rising in popularity over the last 20 years. It allowed brands and retailers such as Zara, H&M, Primark, Forever 21, GAP to grow into large global corporations. It's fun to shop for new trendy clothes weekly. It's popular because it's practical and convenient. Fast fashion is now everywhere. People love fast fashion because it provides instant gratification. Fast fashion brands and designers offer new stylish pieces of clothing inspired by runway shows at an affordable price very quickly. The global textile and apparel industry is expanding at a 6.16% compound annual growth rate. It's valued at about USD 1.5 trillion in 2020. Consumers demand new, affordable, and fashionable clothes available in high-street stores every week. But is all of this worth it? Is it worth little by little destroying our environment? Making kids work twice as hard for fashion. It seems a little bit inhumane. So what are some ways that we can avoid fast fashion? Well for starters you can avoid shops that advertise fast fashion. You can find this out by researching the shops and just going in-depth on how well they treat the environment. You can buy clothes from Little boutiques and other small businesses that are environmentally friendly and treat their workers with respect. Take a minimalist approach. Stop buying clothes that you know you don't need. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you will also be helping your pockets. At the end of the day, people are going to shop wherever they'll shop. Whether or not fast fashion will be a thing of the past in a couple of years or will continue to be thriving, we as the consumers of the product need to be mindful of how the clothes we buy affect the world we live in.