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Future Trends of Fast Fashion in Third World Countries

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In order to meet the hectic demands of textiles to keep up with the modern trends in the fast fashion industry, rural countries in the developing world are suffering the most strain both socially and economically. Specifically, third world countries that are part of the lower economic spectrum of the globe are targeted to manufacture and produce garments due to the access of abundance of workers with little pay provided. In the peer reviewed article, ‘Pulse of the Fashion Industry’, the Global Fashion Agenda and the Boston Consulting Group discuss how fast fashion fuels the global economy and development, yet in an unethical way that demands reform. Alongside this, major export countries like Bangladesh make up 60%-80% of the world’s exports. In addition, LMICs (also known as low- and middle-income countries) produce about 90% of the globe’s clothing. Through mass employees working on low wages, the high demands for different fashion trends can be met that are prevalent in the industrialized and developed world for a cheap price to the consumer, according to Reuchart and Drew, authors of ‘By the Numbers: The Economic, Social And Environmental Impacts Of ‘Fast Fashion’’. However, this results in exploitation of the low-income workers in the developing world who are taken advantage of daily. Imperatively unjust social issues such as enforced child labor (seen in Brazil, China, Vietnam, Argentina, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey, Philippines, India, and many more developing countries), intensified build-up of textile waste, hostile working conditions, and financially unfair wages are prevalent.

In order for fast fashion to stay ethnically and economically stable in the future, amends must be made in order to ‘slow’ it down, remarks Niinimäki, et al. in ‘The Environmental Price of Fast Fashion’. A more ethically manufacturing industry with an aware consumer base with an altered mindset must be established to provide for a more sustainable industry that puts quality of the clothing and producers over fast moving ‘fashion trends’. In recent years, the exportation of goods has shifted to countries in South and Southeast Asia and other countries with a substantial population of low skilled workers. Leaving us to ponder over the inquiry: will our rapid upcoming future be able to support the rising socioeconomic discrepancies in the developing world due to fast fashion? As time is being accelerated by globalization, issues from the fast fashion industry have distressed the importing countries of the developing world as forced labor workers are straining their lives in inhumane working conditions on low wages. They sacrifice their mental and physical health in a continuous cycle of unethical production/intrusive exploitation to a capital hungry consumer base.

As workers are being exposed to hostile environments with poor conditions, they are becoming more susceptible to disease and illnesses. Factors that play into the lowly, rural environments include weak ventilation, dust, artificial synthetics, dyes, toxins, etc. The results of this have led to a drastic rise in illnesses such as breast cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer. In ‘Textile and Occupational Cancer”, Singh et al. concludes that workers who have jobs in the textile industry that get exposed to the toxic chemicals on scene are at greater risk of developing cancer than the average person. Adding on to this, in ‘An Analysis of the Fast Fashion Industry’, Linden narrates how in Punjab, the world’s leading producer in cotton and a province in India, the garment workers are at higher risk of cancer, autism, and there are more births with defects as time goes on, due to the high chemical exposure. Similarly, stress from the unfavorable environments and boosting demand for cotton has also been taking a social toll on farmers’ mental health, and will only get worse in the future. Suicide rates for farmers in Punjab are at an all-time high, with an estimated every half hour that a Punjab farmer takes his own life, for the past decade.

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In the peer reviewed article, ‘Pulse of the Fashion Industry’, the Global Fashion Agenda and the Boston Consulting Group discuss how fast fashion fuels the global economy and development, yet the textile demands are possibly depleting resources. Major export countries like Bangladesh make up 60%-80% of the world’s exports, and future trends are only suggesting that number to increase. Yet by 2030 it is expected to be a severe scarcement of resources. Furthermore, in a decade the population is predicted to reach 8.5 million, and in order to sustain that population the production of garments will need to upsurge as well. Also, by 2050, the demand for clothing is expected to increase by 400%. All these factors play into the future trends of resources and the demand for textiles that we are seeing in the fast fashion industry in the developing world.

The considerably low wages that workers in the developing world earn does not nearly compensate for their sacrifices. For example, in Bangladesh, a South Asian country also classified as a LMIC, women in the garment factories make a salary of about $96 per month, and many make even less than that. In addition, workers in South Asia often work around 10 hours a day only to make the equivalent of 1USD each day, not nearly enough to provide for them or their families. There is a pay gap of 39% for women compared to men, in Pakistan (another LMIC) that gap is up to almost 50% In the future, that gap will probably increase. It’s predicted that if the fashion industry were to address these issues, then the world economy would actually benefit almost $190 billion dollars each year. Author and lecturer Brooks illustrated in his book, ‘Clothing Property: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second-Hand Clothes’, about the consequences of the growing fast fashion’s effects on third world countries. Brooks related how there is a strong division in the rich north and poorer south of the globe through an irrational distribution of capitalism that has affected the consumer patterns, production of materials, and textile manufacturing. Yet recent trends assert a rising gross domestic product in developing countries (4% per capita in the near future), yet gender inequality is increasing as well.

Due to globalization and the speedy upkeep with ‘fashion trends’, clothing becoming less trendy or ‘outdated’ in today’s times is a lot more common than it used to, resulting in a waste of textiles, depletion of resources, and exploitation of less advantaged workers in third world countries. In addition, the clothing manufacturing shift from developed to developing countries is rising. Most of the employees were either women or children with low skill and education levels receiving very low pay often being forced to complete their work. Opposing views on unethical ideals of fast fashion have led to solutions of ‘slow fashion’ that have started to emerge. Fashion that is more sustained, and more emphasis is put on the quality of not only the products put in the environment in which they are produced, but the quality of those who sacrifice their lives every day in the developing world to produce them.


  1. Bick, R., Halsey, E. & Ekenga, C.C. The Global Environmental Injustice of Fast Fashion. Environ Health 17, 92 (2018).
  2. Brooks, Andrew. 2015. ‘Clothing Poverty The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second-Hand Clothes”. Academia.Edu.
  3. Eder-Hansen, Jonas, Caroline Chalmer, Sofia Tärneberg, Thomas Tochtermann, J. Seara, Sebastian Boger, Gabrielle Theelen, Sebastian Schwarz, Lise Kristensen, and Kristina Jäger. ‘Pulse of the Fashion Industry’. Global Fashion Agenda & The Boston Consulting Group (2017).
  4. Ellen MacArthur Foundation, A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future, (2017).
  5. Journal, E., 2014. European Management Journal. [online] [Accessed 17 September 2020].
  6. Linden, Annie Radner. 2016. ‘An Analysis of the Fast Fashion Industry’. Digitalcommons.Bard.Edu. Senior Projects Fall 2016.
  7. Niinimäki, Kirsi & Peters, Greg & Dahlbo, Helena & Perry, Patsy & Rissanen, Timo & Gwilt, Alison. (2020). Author Correction: The Environmental Price of Fast Fashion. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment. 1. 1-1. 10.1038/s43017-020-0054-x.
  8. Reichart, E. and Drew, D., 2019. By The Numbers: The Economic, Social and Environmental Impacts of ‘Fast Fashiono. [online] World Resources Institute.
  9. Singh, Z., Chadha, P. Textile Industry and Occupational Cancer. J Occup Med Toxicol 11, 39 (2016).
  10. ‘World Bank Country And Lending Groups – World Bank Data Help Desk’. 2020. Data Helpdesk.Worldbank.Org. Accessed October 1.
  11. World Health Organization. ‘Definition Of Regional Groupings’. 2020. Accessed September.

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Future Trends of Fast Fashion in Third World Countries. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 24, 2023, from
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