The Impact of Fast Fashion on Women


  • Andrea Chang McMaster University



The constructed gender roles and stereotypes of women position them to be uniquely impacted by the fast fashion industry because of the feminization of the fashion industry as a whole. They are disproportionately employed in the sweatshops of the garment industry, and also are mainly targeted as the consumers of fast fashion. However, because of the different levels of privilege that consumers and garment workers hold, although they are both affected by the fast fashion industry more so than their male counterparts, gender plays two different roles in these two different situations. Ultimately, many modern fast fashion critiques take a neoliberal stance in putting the responsibility on these young fast fashion consuming women to stop the fast fashion industry. However, alternate literature suggests that other actors have immense responsibility that is often overlooked. Thus, although these relatively privileged young women do have some responsibility in the horrors of the fast fashion industry, the feminization of responsibility for the practices of the industry are unfair. When a highly feminized industry like the fast fashion one becomes problematic, the responsibility for positive change is also placed upon females. The switch to ethical and sustainable fashion as the primary, and only, type of clothing to purchase is imperative. However, this switch should not only be the consumers’ burden, but rather that of the fashion industry as a whole.