BC Social Studies Lesson Plans

Fast Fashion & Globalization

Soc.Just. 12


Fast Fashion & Globalization

Big Idea

Individual worldviews shape and inform our understanding of social justice issues.

Essential Question

How can consumer awareness of ethical issues in manufacturing affect change?

Learning Standards Content

Students are expected to know the following:

  • processes, methods, and approaches individuals, groups, and institutions use to promote social justice

Curricular Competencies

Students are expected to be able to do the following:

  • Determine and assess the long- and short-term causes and consequences, and the intended and unintended consequences, of an event, legislative and judicial decision, development, policy, or movement (cause and consequence)

Core Competencies

I am able to define fast fashion and globalization, and I can articulate examples of each.

I can analyze the various positive and negative aspects of globalization and fast fashion as well as how these affect people locally and globally.

I can make informed decisions as a consumer in bringing about awareness and change in the clothing sector, as a result of exercising my buying power.

First People's Principles of Learning

Learning involves recognizing the consequences of one’s actions.
  • Ask the students to think of their top 5 favorite retail stores, including online retailers.
  • Have each student name one store. Listen for repeated favorite store and brand names, and write those on the board (such as Nike, American Eagle, H&M, Forever 21, Adidas etc.)
  • Point out that they will be hearing about some of their favorite name brands and stores in this unit and researching more about them
  • Have students examine the labels in their clothing to find out where their clothes were made.
  • Think-Pair-Share:
    • Why is so much of our clothing made in other countries?
    • How is clothing manufacturing related to globalization?
    • What are the benefits and problems of much of our clothing being made in developing countries?

Part 1: Fast Fashion and Globalization

  • Explain to students they will be learning about the term “fast fashion”. Allow students time to reflect on their understanding of the term.
  • Organize students into small groups and distribute chart paper and markers. On the top half students should write “fast fashion” and below list their potential definitions and key words that come to mind when they hear that term.
  • Allow 15 minutes for students to discuss this term and record their responses. Then have each group share their key words and potential definitions.
  • Write the following definition of fast fashion on the board and allow students to compare their definitions with it: “inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.” (Google dictionary)
  • Let students know they will be viewing a documentary about fast fashion and globalization.
  • Distribute “The True Cost—Viewing Guide” to students. Allow time to preview the questions before showing the documentary film True Cost (1:31:45). Pause the film as needed tosummarize info, look at statistics, and obtain responses from students
  • Afterwards, allow time for students to complete the viewing guide. Go over the viewing guide using “Answer Key: The True Cost—Viewing Guide.
  • Distribute The True Cost discussion guide to students and have them discuss selected questions in small groups.
  • Assign a written reflection in response: What is something that you may do differently going forward, now that you have watched The True Cost? Provide examples of any awareness and perspectives you gained and what you would like to put into action.
  • Assess the written reflection using the “Reflection Rubric”.



Part 2: Debate

  • Ask students to imagine the following scenario: “You are a young mother in Bangladesh and would like to send your two children aged 7 and 11 to school. However, you need money to pay for living expenses and food as well as medication and care for a disabled grandparent in the household. By taking turns working in a garment factory and being home to care for the grandparent, the mother and two children are able to provide this support and make ends meet financially.”
  • Write the following statement on the board: “The benefits of jobs created by the clothing industry in developing countries outweigh the problems. Have students that agree with this statement to go to one side of the room and those who disagree go to opposite side of the room. This debate topic is taken from #2 of  The True Cost discussion guideAs demonstrated in the film, some economists argue that conditions in garment factories, bad as they may be, are better opportunities for workers in “developing” countries than they would have otherwise. After watching this film, do you buy this argument? Even if the argument is true, does that mean that conditions should not be improved? How are women’s rights particularly affected?
  • If there is a disproportionate amount on either side, ask for those who do know have a strong opinion to balance the side. Allow students 20 minutes to formulate key debate responses in anticipation of the other side’s opposing views.
  • Begin the debate by allowing one member from each side to speak at a time. Then the other side responds, and this continues with the teacher moderating the discussion and at time adding key information as needed.
  • Once the debate is completed, debrief by asking students what was challenging about the debate. What was needed in order to see both sides of the argument? (compassion, justice, ethics) Allow time for discussion and stress the important of seeing the point of view of all parties.


Part 3: World Trade Organization

  • Explain that the World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only international organization dealing with the global rules of trade. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible. Show the video Let’s Talk WTO (2:11).
  • Provide students with access to the WTO in Brief. The WTO says the goal of the organization is to improve the welfare of the peoples of the WTO’s members. Have students examine the WTO site for evidence of whether or not the welfare of the workers is considered in the goal of free trade between countries.
  • Explain that in 1994 Canada passed The World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation Act.  Use a Think-Pair-Share strategy to have students respond to two sections of the Act:
    • “Whereas trade expansion contributes to job creation, achieves higher standards of living, offers greater choices for consumers and strengthens the Canadian economic union.” What does it mean to strengthen the Canadian economic union, and achieve high standards of living for Canada, and greater choice? At what cost is this achieved?
    • “Whereas the World Trade Organization, as successor to the GATT, will also provide the forum for future trade negotiations aimed at furthering trade liberalization world-wide and the development of new global trade rules.” What does the term “trade liberalization” imply?


  • Present students with three choices for a project:
    • Inquiry: Explore an aspect of fashion manufacturing and globalization they want to learn more about. It could be a company such as Nike, or a country such as Bangladesh, or trade and labor laws across the world. Present your findings.
    • Awareness Campaign: You will create an original public service announcement about the impact of our consumer choices, especially our choices about the clothes we buy.
    • Policy Proposal: This project involves research into organizations that have the goal of ending child labor around the world. You will recommend a policy to eradicate child labour in a persuasive speech.
  • Provide students time to work on their project of choice with teacher support and access to technology as needed.
  • When projects are completed, students should present them to the class.
  • Assess presentations using the “Project Presentation Rubric”.
  • Students can organize school-wide awareness campaigns, where they share the various hashtags of organizations committed to fair and ethical practice in clothing industries, as well as those working to bring awareness. Social media can also be used for bringing about awareness.

Global Dimension. 2018. “Child Labour.” https://globaldimension.org.uk/child-labour/

International Labour Organization. 2020. “Child Labour.” https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/child-labour/lang--en/index.htm

International Labour Organization. [n.d.] “What is Child Labour?” https://www.ilo.org/ipec/facts/lang--en/index.htm

“The True Cost: Bullfrog Community Screening & Discussion Guide.” [n.d.] https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/bullfrogfilms/pages/507/attachments/original/1453332297/true_discussionguide.pdf?1453332297

“The True Cost.” Documentary | Clothing Industry | Fashion Market | Capitalism | Modern Slavery. 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20200720235342/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxhCpLzreCw

UNICEF. 2019. “Child Labour” https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-protection/child-labour/

UNICEF. 2020. “Ten Things You Did Not Know About Child Labour.” https://www.unicef.ca/en/blog/ten-things-you-didnt-know-about-child-labour

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation Act (S.C. 1994, c. 47). Justice Laws Website. https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/W-11.8/page-1.html

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Last Reviewed

March 01, 2023

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