Why I Don’t Shop at Forever 21 and H&M | Fashion Revolution Week

The Ugly Side of the Fast Fashion Industry




I never thought of myself as an activist, but I somehow learned about how dangerous the fashion industry is to its labor force and the environment and found The True Cost documentary on Netflix, and it changed my shopping habits.

It also transformed my entire perspective on the fashion industry, especially fast fashion retailers such as Forever 21 and H&M.

As a sixteen-year-old teenage girl with a constantly changing sense of style and wanting to keep up with trends, I frequently found myself buying clothes that I didn’t need.

The problem with retailers that have low-quality clothes at scarily inexpensive prices is that it feels like a never-ending sale. In my mind, the cheapness made it low-cost to buy in more ways than one.


Garment workers’ wages and safety are where companies choose to cut corners, not to mention a heavy environmental footprint. Initially, I stopped shopping at Forever 21 and H&M because I don’t believe in their choices, but on a practical level, my closet became more high quality and longer lasting. 

I’m eighteen now and enjoy buying pieces that I can see myself wearing for years. I consider myself an avid thrifter, but I am in college studying to be a part of the second most polluting industry in the world. As we delve deeper into every aspect of the industry and the process it takes to get clothes on a rack, it is crazy to think that you can buy a top for less than a coffee when you think about how many people it took to produce it.

In my classes it seems like there is a lot of talk about how bad the industry is for the environment, but the trendiness of sustainability may only be having surface-level changes.



At its core, fast fashion can not be sustainable because it is based on the idea that clothes can easily be discarded in favor of what is the newest trend. When brands like H&M try to market themselves as environmentally friendly and eco-conscious, it leaves a bad taste because they are inherently unsustainable. Their business model is built on tricking customers into thinking they need new clothes every week. The constant “I need more” thought process devalues the clothes.

I’d highly suggest reading about Fashion Revolution, an organization dedicated to promoting brand transparency and protecting the environment and the fashion industry’s workers.

Two years ago, I asked Kensie who made my winter formal dress, and I encourage you to ask your favorite brands who makes your clothes. Holding brands accountable for their workers and being transparent is the first step to improving the industry.

I believe we shouldn’t treat our clothes or the people that make them as disposable. 

Happy Fashion Revolution Week! Together we can demand a safer industry. 

Thanks for reading! 

Follow along on Instagram for more content on fashion sustainability. ☆ Faith


Source: Fashion Revolution’s Instagram