The foundation of fast fashion rest on the technology of standardized sizing. I have a slim body shape, so my appropriate size shirt is a small. But I almost never buy small shirts. I don’t like how the shorter sleeves of small shirts look on my long arms. So instead, I buy medium or large shirts. The sleeve on these shirts at least come to the middle or pass my bicep. This limitation in clothing is the result of standardized sizing.
People come in a variety of body shapes and sizes. So, it would be difficult for manufacturers to make clothing tailored to satisfy the preferences of all body types. And the absence of tailoring is what helps kept clothing affordable in the beginning of Americas fashion industry. Using standardized sizing makes the mass manufacturing of clothes faster and more efficient. During the 1800s, America standardized sizing was consider an achievement. Standardized sizing would help achieve the goal of making clean clothes affordable and accessible. The mass manufacturing of clothing also helped individuals achieve a source of income by creating jobs.
But in the time that has passed between the 18th century and 2023, the achievements of standardized sizing rest in shadows of fast fashion. Standardized fashion no longer just solves the basic need for clothing. Because fast fashion has encouraged overconsumption and waste. Before manufactures leverage standardize sizing to help create more employment. But now fast fashion in some places makes working environments unsafe. For some, the resolutions for these issues created by fast fashion is sustainable fashion. But to what degree do we think we can buy our way into sustainability.
The goal of sustainability would be to reduce the waste created by the fashion industry by selling products that are not made of materials that are harmful for the environment. The current messages related to sustainable fashion ignore the excessive consumption of clothes. And instead focus on changing the clothes and not the people. It is difficult to see fast fashion as an issue when it is still linked to the achievements of standardize sizing. Fast fashion creates equal access to affordable clothes. Fast fashion also encourages the successful entrepreneurship of small fashion brands. Like standardize fashion fast fashion achieves better access to clothes and creates an environment for small business to use fashion as a source of income.
Zakim, Michael. “A Ready-Made Business: The Birth of the Clothing Industry in America.” Business History Review, vol. 73, no. 1, 1999, pp. 61–90., doi:10.2307/3116101.