Examining Fast Fashion Brands' Role in Environmental Justice: Moral Duties and Practical Challenges for Good Product Design
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Prices of fashion garments have gone down and this is partly at the expense of the Earth's environment. With the speed and volume of garment production continuously increasing, the fashion industry has been declared one of the most environmentally damaging industries in the world. The typical life span of a garment involves a number of stages starting from design and finishing at the end of use. Each of these stages is detrimental to the environment, but the design stage could hold a solution to the negative impact of almost every one of these, if not all. Inspired by the potency of design, cradle-to-cradle, a theory of design that promises complete sustainability, is reimagined as a theory of environmental justice. In practice it is not evident that fashion brands are genuinely committed to changing their environmentally destructive ways. Thus, the cradle-to-cradle justice theory is used to formulate a morally significant case for whether and why fast fashion brands have a moral duty to ensure such justice. It is concluded that despite some practical challenges, there are compelling justifications as well as opportunities for fast fashion brands to remodel their design and market strategies for the sake of environmental justice, and that they ought to commit to doing so.