Though fashion designers and textile manufacturers have worked to increase the speed and profitability of production since the mid-twentieth century, the fast fashion model has developed since the late twentieth century and gained tremendous market share in the first decades of the twenty-first century.
Fast fashion is characterized by how quickly and inexpensively fashion items can be introduced, produced, and sold.
The fast fashion model enables consumers to purchase clothes at lower prices. However, the clothes are designed to be discarded and replaced more quickly than higher quality products.
Environmentalists have expressed concern about the inherent wastefulness of fast fashion while also drawing attention to the impact of the industry's practices. The fast fashion industry contributes significantly to the global production of solid waste, water pollution, and carbon emissions.
Labor activists have also highlighted worker exploitation throughout the supply chain, noting that the availability of cheap labor enables the fast fashion model.
Activists and policy makers have called on the fashion industry to adopt more sustainable practices. Despite such efforts, market analysts anticipate that the fast fashion industry will continue to grow.