All posts by EMILY BONSER

Unveiling the True Cost of Fast Fashion – Environmental Impacts and Sustainable Alternatives

In the age of fast fashion, where trends come and go at the speed of light, and influencer culture is the strongest it has ever been, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of inexpensive clothing options offered by companies like Shein, H & M, primark and Zara. However, beneath the surface of their trendy façades lies a darker truth: the environmental toll of fast fashion.

In this blog post, I delve into the unsustainable practices of the fast fashion industry and how influencer culture is encouraging the overconsumption of fast fashion. Furthermore, I will explore alternative brands you should consider that prioritise sustainability without compromising style.

The Truth Behind Fast Fashion:

Credit: Francois Le Nguyen, Unsplash
Overconsumption and Waste:

Fast fashion brands thrive on the principle of producing clothing quickly and inexpensively, leading to a culture of overconsumption. Consumers are encouraged to constantly purchase new items to keep up with fleeting trends, resulting in massive amounts of clothing ending up in landfills.

With their low prices and endless array of styles, Shein and primark have become favourites among fashion-forward consumers worldwide and I too have fallen victim in the past to its allure blindly contributing to the waste.

Credit: Perytskyy, Unsplash
Pollution and Resource Depletion:

The production of fast fashion uses extensive amounts of natural resources such as raw materials, energy and water. Additionally, the reliance on synthetic fibres like polyester contributes to pollution during manufacturing processes. Chemical dyes and treatments further contaminate waterways, harming ecosystems and communities near production facilities. Furthermore, the transportation of clothing from factories to global markets adds to carbon emissions and air pollution.

Credit: Rio Lecatompessy, Unsplash
Ethical Concerns: 

The relentless drive for low costs in fast fashion frequently results in the compromise of ethical labor standards. Workers in garment factories, especially in developing countries, suffer low wages, unsafe working conditions, and exploitation. The demand to fulfil strict deadlines and production targets worsens these problems, leading to human rights abuses and inadequate livelihoods for garment workers.

For more information, here’s a video explaining the impacts of fast-fashion on our planet:

Source: YouTube, The Planet Voice

Facts that have not been made to scare you..but should

  • Over 80 billion new pieces of clothing are bought each year worldwide.
  • 85% of discarded clothing ends up in landfills.
  • Textiles account for almost 35% of the global microplastic pollution.
  • 40 million people work in fast fashion worldwide.
  • 92 million metric tones of textiles waste is produced each year.
  • 93% of brands surveyed by the Fashion Checker aren’t paying garment workers a living wage.


Credit: MTStock Studio, Unsplash

Breaking the Haul: how influencer culture is supporting the dark side of fashion

Influencer culture has revolutionised the way we consume and perceive fashion, with social media influencers wielding significant influence over consumer behaviour. One prominent trend within influencer culture is the promotion of fast fashion hauls, where influencers showcase their latest purchases from brands like Shein, H&M, and Zara. While these hauls may seem harmless and even aspirational on the surface, they often have detrimental effects on both individuals and the environment.

  • Videos tagged with #haul on TikTok have been viewed more than 49 billion times as of 2023 and this continues to increase every minute.

The promotion of fast fashion hauls perpetuates a culture of overconsumption and disposability. Influencers, often incentivised by brand partnerships and affiliate programs, encourage their followers to constantly purchase new clothing items to stay on-trend. This relentless cycle of consumption not only strains individuals’ finances but also contributes to the growing problem of textile waste, as garments are discarded after being worn a couple times.

By glamorising these brands through haul videos, influencers inadvertently endorse and normalise these harmful practices, further rooting the fast fashion model in our society.

In conclusion, influencer culture promoting fast fashion hauls perpetuates a damaging cycle of overconsumption, disposability, and exploitation. It’s crucial for influencers and consumers alike to recognise the negative impact of these hauls and instead advocate for more sustainable and ethical fashion choices.

Do Social Media Influencers actually affect consumers? 

Source: YouTube, Vox Pops International


Credit: Gorica Poturak, Unsplash

Sustainable Fashion Alternatives:

Fortunately for you, we are not all doomed just yet! There is a growing movement towards sustainable fashion, with brands that prioritise ethical production practices and environmental responsibility.

Read here why shopping sustainably matters

Here are some sustainable alternatives that have been specially selected by me:

1. Lucy & Yak:
Source: Lucy & Yak Website

 Lucy & Yak is a UK-based brand known for its colourful and quirky clothing made from sustainable materials such as organic cotton and recycled fabrics. Despite its eco-friendly focus, Lucy & Yak offers affordable options, including their signature dungarees and playful tops, making sustainable fashion accessible to all.

Shop here!


2. Reformation:

Source: Reformation website

Reformation is a fashion label that focuses on sustainable materials and ethical production. Their clothing is made from eco-friendly fabrics like TENCEL lyocell, recycled cotton, and dead-stock fabrics. Reformation also priorities supply chain transparency, so consumers can trace the journey of their garments from raw materials to finished products.

Shop here!


3. TALA:

Source: TALA website

 TALA is a sustainable activewear brand that emphasizes inclusivity, affordability, and sustainability. Their stylish and functional workout gear is made from recycled materials and produced in ethical factories. TALA’s commitment to affordability ensures that eco-conscious activewear is accessible to everyone, without compromising on quality or style.

Shop here! 

6. Vinted

Source: Vinted website

Finally, if you are looking for affordable second-hand clothing Vinted is a great online marketplace where individuals can buy, sell and swap their clothing, shoes, accessories and other items. Not only does it provide a platform for users to declutter their wardrobe, it also contributes to sustainable fashion practices.

Shop here!


While Shein, Primark, H & M and similar brands, may offer cheap and trendy clothing options, its fast fashion model comes at a significant environmental cost. From overconsumption and waste to environmental pollution, their practices contribute to the degradation of our planet.

However, by using our suggested list and supporting sustainable fashion brands that prioritise ethical production and environmental responsibility, you can make a positive impact and promote a more sustainable future for the fashion industry. Let’s choose quality over quantity, and style with a conscience.

Here’s a 7 minute video unveiling the lies that sell fast-fashion:

Source: YouTube, Vox

Do you really want to make a difference?

Click here to sign a petition that is working against the fast fashion industry, encouraging consumers to rethink the clothes on their backs and pledge to stop fast fashion.