Speed has become addictive in the 21st century. As consumers we expect our food to be fast, our internet to be fast and now our fashion to be as equally fast.
However, it is quickly being discovered that it is as difficult to shift those pesky pounds from a fast food binge as it is to clear your conscience from a bargain buying bender. High street stores are lowering their costs and distracting shoppers from the credit crunch with their cheap prices.
Stores like Primark and Tesco encourage consumers to buy in bulk and due to fashion turnaround being that much quicker and new styles being on the shop floor within the month, fast fashion supports the decadent sins of an already throwaway society. The question is though; if you are not paying more, who is paying that cost?
I am sure it is not a revelation to anyone that the UK outsources most of its manufacturing to countries like Asia, Africa, South America and Eastern Europe. Resources, lax laws and of course cheap labour make the benefits worthwhile. Though perhaps (the naive and hopeful shopper might think while clutching their armful of bargain outfits) the jobs given in the factories by these multinational corporations and large companies put people in paid employment and as a consequence contribute to the country's economic growth and GDP? I mean, after all the newly industrialised countries of Asia began developing in this way, so surely we are just giving them that kick start they so desperately need.
This idea could only seriously be entertained by the type of person who also believes Amy Winehouse does not have any drug based mental illness and merely has an excitable disposition.
Unfortunately, child labour, long hours, low pay, poor conditions, abuse and no labour rights are a common practice in this industry. According to the campaign group 'War on Want', employees work as much as 'Eighty-hour weeks for 5p an hour, forced overtime and potentially deadly working conditions'. The driving motivation of capitalist production within the fashion industry is the force of supply and demand which is set against a backdrop of exploitation, inequality and the reality of an international division of labour.
In order for manufacturing costs to remain low, work is subcontracted to sweatshops where 'homework' is encouraged as workers are paid by 'piece rate' and not per hour. These middle businesses are illegal and evade tax. To avoid being penalised they can shut down at a moments notice, resulting in no profits going back into the country and hindering rather than helping the country's progression.
It seems ever glaringly obvious that it is an unsaid rule of the government's not to help the third world but instead to shift the blame on to the public. So with this growing sense of guilt we should do our bit, even if it just means putting that fabulous top declared this weeks 'must have' by Cosmopolitan back on the rail, and putting ourselves on a fashion diet.
As Tesco ironically said 'Every little helps'.