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The State of the Fast Fashion Industry

Fast fashion has reached a fever pitch in recent years. The industry has been criticized by media outlets such as The New York Times for its wasteful and environmentally dangerous clothing production in the name of supplying immediate demand. The trend is partly responsible for sending the equivalent of one garbage truck of textile waste to landfills or incinerators every second.

The wasteful nature of fast fashion exploded into the public consciousness when the high-end British fashion company Burberry was discovered to have burned $40 million in unsold clothing, triggering a social media firestorm.


The negative press around fast fashion’s harmful habits have taken a real foothold, and it’s no coincidence the resale clothing market is booming. By 2028, it is expected to surpass fast fashion in sales.

At Winmark, our franchise owners are perfectly positioned to capitalize on the growing resale industry, and our sustainable business model actively fights against the wasteful model of fast fashion.

Detrimental to the Environment

The appeal behind fast fashion is that it allows consumers to receive cheap, on-trend clothing almost immediately. It provides an easy way for consumers to stay up-to-date with the latest fashion styles at affordable prices, which is especially attractive to many younger consumers. While this sounds great in theory, there are inherent issues with this production strategy.

When a fashion company’s goal is to supply cheap clothing that meets the briefest of trends as quickly as possible, two things usually happen: the clothing isn’t made to last and far too much of it is produced. This clothing surplus is then sent to landfills, where it may take up to 200 years to biodegrade.


On the surface, that is already clearly a waste. But when you take into account the resources needed to produce this clothing in the first place, the bigger picture becomes more apparent:

Through our Winmark clothing resale franchise concepts, such as Style Encore®, Once Upon A Child® and Plato’s Closet®, we have saved 58 million clothing items from landfills. Our business model is built around sustainability and growing the green economy. We contribute to lessening the damage done by fast fashion by reselling high-quality, gently used pieces of clothing.

Losing to Resale

The boom of fast fashion seems to be ending, and the rise of resale is in full swing. An industry currently worth $24 billion, the resale clothing market is expected to grow to $64 billion by 2028. Comparatively, fast fashion is projected to be worth $44 billion by 2028.

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The concept of the resale clothing market is attractive to all generations, giving the industry an advantage over the instant gratification of fast fashion. The resale clothing market is built around quality products that last, and those are exactly the products we seek out at Winmark.

Do you want to own a clothing retail business that is built around sustainability instead of waste? Contact us today!