Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English and Writing Studies



First Reader/Committee Chair

Martin Premoli


The objective of this thesis is to express a need for sustainability within the fast fashion industry, in the form of cultural movement that acts as alternative to the current means of production, consumption, and philosophies. Sustainability within current popular discourses is often human-centered and lacking authenticity, thus I aim to highlight an alternative that is opposite of that. In doing such, I bring to light the negative effects of the industry through a case study on the fast fashion company SHEIN, who claim to be making sustainable efforts. I analyzed SHEIN’s 2021 Sustainability and Social Impact Report (SSIR), focusing on the disparities between SHEIN’s rhetoric and the actual sustainable efforts being made, to determine their level of authenticity to sustainability. I uncover negative environmental impacts such as high levels of water consumption, ecosystem disruptions, and disposability that result from the materials used, which lead me to believe SHEIN lacks authenticity to their claims at sustainability. To counter these rapidly increasing effects, I highlight a new philosophy of fashion, one that carries sustainable values and practices. Invented by Kate Fletcher, slow fashion, is the cultural movement needed because it distances itself from the need to feed rising consumer consumption rates, moves away from quickly fading fashion trends, and reduces the speed of production. I highlight slow fashion as a cultural movement because the required sustainable change needed must occur on a cultural level, if it is to create impactful changes. I finalize with possible steps that consumers and companies can take, in order to adopt slow fashion as a new mode of fashion.

Key Words: Sustainability, fast fashion, slow fashion, consumer consumption, psychology of consumption, water consumption, ecosystem disruption, philosophy of fashion, rhetoric, and disposability.