How Fast Should Fashion Really Be? An Investigation into Whether It Is Possible for ‘Fast Fashion’ to Adapt to Meet Social Sustainability Goals

  •  Shakira Wanduragala    


In the last decade, there have been a number of fatal disasters in garment factories across the world, with many of these factories producing garments for the ‘fast fashion’ industry. With the ‘fast fashion’ industry continuing to grow at an exponential rate, it is important, now more than ever, to understand how garment workers at the heart of this growth can be protected in a socially sustainable way. The motivation of this study is to look into ways of empowering producers of the garments, not just those who wear them. The objective of this research is to understand whether it is possible for ‘fast fashion’ to meet social sustainability goals, or whether the model is inherently unsustainable. To address this question, a systematic literature review was conducted, which maps literature on ‘fast fashion’ and social sustainability. This review looks at the two concepts independently, then draws the literature together to explain the relationship, and outlines approaches that can be taken to ameliorate it. The paper presents an argument for how policymakers, businesses and consumers can play a part in making fast fashion more socially sustainable in the hope of one day being able to empower all. The conclusion of this review is that fast fashion is only capable of exhibiting ‘weak’ sustainability, and that systemic change would be needed across stakeholders to address social sustainability goals effectively.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.