Ultra-Fast Fashion How It Became Such A RageSo what is ultra-fast fashion? Think of it as fashion, but cheaper and faster. Ultra-fast fashion brands essentially are just thatultra-fast. With faster production cycles and incorporating trends in just days, these brands make it a point to bring the latest and the hottest to customers with lightning speed.One of the most popular ultra-fast fashion brands in the fashion space right now is Shein. The Chinese clothing brand was recently valued at a whopping $100 billion in a recent funding round, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. This move makes Shein one of the most valuable private companies in the world. The ultra-fast fashion brand ships to numerous countries and adds about 3000 styles on an average, each week. In the US, Shein now does more in sales value than both HM and Zara.So how does Shein do it?While a lot of Sheins success, much like most other ultra-fast fashion brands, comes from the hype and haul culture on social media platforms like TikTok, a lot is also thanks to the speed at which consumers can get their hands on an ongoing trend. Shein uses AI to scrape social media- Instagram, TikTok, especially and I believe, just the internet at large, for any kind of fashion trend. So lets say that three years ago these big poufy sleeve dresses were really popular, like the Selkie dresses. Im sure that Shein was able to pick up on that, like immediately and make a ton of imitations of that dress, says journalist and chief correspondent at Business of Fashion (BoF), Lauren Sherman, on BoFs latest podcast episode from their series, The Debrief. Shein is able to make its lead time as quick as three days. Rather than having a couple of its own factories, it works with a network of smaller factories. Shein is located in the same city as these factories in Guangzhou, China. Because of the proximity to their factory partners, Shein can further decrease their lead time, adds Sherman in the episode.Image used for representational purposes only.Even as the TikTok and Shein ban has kept the Indian fashion consumer away from the ultra-fast fashion culture at large, other brands follow similar business processes that have gained popularity since the ban. One of them is Urbanic, whose website will instantly remind you of Sheins, with similar categories, processes and a varied number of styles available. Not much is clear about where each product is made either, clearly lacking the transparency that is the norm today.Fast Fashion Vs Ultra-Fast FashionImage used for representational purposes only.While both follow a similar formula of fast production and cheaper selling prices, ultra-fast fashion aims to be even faster and cheaper. This means styles drop in days instead of weeks and numbers of styles per week run in thousands instead of hundreds. Sometimes, ultra-fast fashion brands have also gone to the extent of dropping knockoffs of celebrity looks in as less as 24 hours. One such instance that made the headlines was when Fashionova dropped a dress extremely similar to a vintage Thierry Mugler number Kim Kardashian sported just a day earlier.Image Source: Wwd.comEnvironmental Impact Of Ultra-Fast FashionImage used for representational purposes only.Given the accelerated timelines fast fashion follows, there is little time left for the patient procurement that natural or recycled materials require. This leaves these brands with not too many options that are cost-friendly, at least not as much as virgin polyester which is majorly used in fast fashion and ultra-fast fashion clothing. A heavy impact on the environment, however, is not the only effect of ultra-fast fashion.As we enter the ninth year since the Rana Plaza factory collapse, its hard for fashion to forget what it brought to the surface: the grave impact of fast fashion on human life. The impact that ultra-fast fashion has on human life is just as bad, if not worse.In November 2021, Swiss watchdog and advocacy group, Public Eye, released a report accusing Shein of major Chinese labour law violations based on findings from independent researchers who tracked down Sheins partner factories and spoke to workers. The findings further revealed garment workers in these factories worked 12 hours a day, coming up to around 75 hours a week, including just one day off in a month. As Shein involves third parties to employ factories, it automatically relieves them of a lot of responsibility when it comes to human life.Image used for representational purposes only.All in all, nothing about ultra-fast fashion can be good for the environment or society in the long run. This leaves us, as consumers, in a position of responsibility to identify and avoid these brands as much as possible.