Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Has fast fashion gone too far?

Fast Fashion Iamfoxxtailz



Short answer yes.

The phrase ''fast fashion'' is something I came across last year, not something I fully understood or the implications that the phrase actually had.

It wasn't until I read the book "''To die for'' Is fashion wearing out the world" by Lucy Siegle that my eyes were opened to how fashion was produced and delivered into our hungry hands, waiting for our next affordable fashion fix, mine included, but at what cost does that come? After reading that book I felt truly ignorant to that particular part of the industry. I was left horrified by the extremities to meet the customer's demand, myself being one of them for the sake of a bit of wardrobe fodder. Don't get me wrong, I've known sweatshops have existed, but to this extent? I, ashamedly, admit I was completely unaware how bad they really were, the conditions the people who work there have to endure and human rights completely violated while fashions brands turn a blind eye to keep costs down. I'm talking a wage that is horrifically below the minimum workers should be receiving, dangerous working conditions with unsafe equipment, working all hours, literally running themselves into the ground to complete orders. One part of the book referred to child labour, there was an instance where children live and work in the factories, their accommodation is complete squaller with an obscene amount of people living in one filthy room, one account spoke of how raw sewage was flowing down the hallways of where the occupants lived due to blocked drainage.

As well as human welfare being completely and utterly exploited, the impact it has on the environment is hugely alarming. It made me wonder what my fashion footprint was, like many other people my wardrobes [yep plural] and drawers are literally bursting at the seams of cheaply bought clothes. The rivers of the villages where the dyeing factories would run that season colour due to the waste of the factories being pumped into the local water supply, instead of being disposed of properly, in order to keep costs down.Into the same river the locals use to bathe, wash their clothes and use as a clean water supply. Workers tanning leather with their bare hands and feet with no sign of safety equipment. In the book, Lucy broke down the chemicals that have been produced in order to make the clothes I'm wearing, undoing some myths on the fiber content our clothes are made up from.

Fast Fashion IamfoxxtailzFast Fashion Iamfoxxtailz

I've got a question, what is your clothing lifespan? Do you consider it before you buy it? I don't, or didn't, all I was thinking about was the super low price tag not really thinking that some cheaply bought clothes don't really last that long, how many times do you wear something before you chuck it? A lot in the book confessed to 1-2 times before it found its way into a bin and then ultimately a landfill site where it takes god knows how long to decompose. Lucy encourages people to take their monthly clothes allowance save it and spend it on something that will last. Yes, the garments will work out more, however as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. . . . or do you? Lucy also uncovered that just because a price tag is higher, doesn't automatically signify 1) the clothes were made ethically 2) that the life span of the clothes will be longer than those bought cheaply. Confused? Me too, there is no list of places as Lucy said that it's constantly changing and growing and instead encourages you to research into the places you buy from.



95% of clothes that end up in the bin could be recycled



It's made me question all my fashion purchases since reading, warding me off certain retailers until I've done my research, what I want to know is, can you find out if a brand is truly ethical? I want to start building a wardrobe of sustainable fashion. She may not have listed places that were ethical, however, as that would become an outdated list the older the book got, she did give examples of what we could do to be more ethical. From up cycling clothes, to disposing of them correctly, and even how to care for your garments in regards to how you wash and look after them. From something just as small as airing your clothes out in between washed and only sticking them in the wash if they really are dirty, not just because you've had them on that day. I went to a tip today and I was overwhelmed by all the waste and that was just from one tip in Britain, it got me thinking how much we all throw away each day, it's scary and embarrassing how much we abuse the world. Clothes go to third world countries not always in an ethical way, clothes that are donated end up in bundles to be sold in third world countries so still turning a profit instead of it being given in aid [this doesn't apply to all]. I find it ironic that the clothes were made there then find themselves back there for the countries to then pay for the hand me downs we've discarded. It makes you think. I've only really scratched the surface of what the book goes into, it's made me want to challenge the retailers and ask them where my clothes were made. It's made me stop wanting to buy throw away fashion and basically question my purchases if I really want it or if I'm doing it for that fast fashion fix.


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6 comments

  1. Gosh that's awful! I have to be honest I too don't really know the extent of sweat shops, but it sounds horrific. Also it's definitely true that not always just because you pay more you will get a longer lifespan. I try to think more carefully now before I buy.

    Dei x
    http://www.sunnydei.com

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  2. This is a great post - we really should think about this a little more...
    Em x
    http://happywiseowl.com

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  3. I've just written a 5000 word assignment around this very subject for my master's degree. Yes, it is possible to shop more responsibly and ethically, though many companies still aren't transparent about their methods of practice and codes of conduct. There are some great websites for information where they list ethical and socially responsible companies. A great place to start is the Ethical Consumer: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ which is super informative.

    If you've got loads of clothes already, I wouldn't focus on buying new 'ethical' items to put in it., I'd focus more on keeping your current clothing well and sustaining it' life longer. Learn to mend things, or take things to tailors to be mended, get shoes re-heeled, and if you really fall out of love with loads of clothes then organise a swap shop with some friends and perhaps raise money for fashionrevolution.org? We can shop ethically and more mindful, though the companies that use people as slave labour will still trade and continue 'business as usual' unless loads of us start making more of a fuss about this industries practices.

    What we really need to be doing is all actively asking the brands that we love and have built a relationship with is "Who made my clothes", or write to them to request this information.

    Only 10% of the clothes we donate to charity shops ends up in the actual stores which I found shocking. Some gets recycled, sent to countries to sell at markets but most ends up in landfill.

    You'll probably find this TedX talk by Clara Vuletich really informative and interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXOd4qh3JKk

    Fair Trade have also introduced a textiles standard: https://www.fairtrade.net/standards/our-standards/textile-standard.html

    I have LOADS more info, but won't bore you anymore ;) If you want me to send you links for good documentaries/ TED talks, articles, books etc I have a wealth of knowledge around this area.

    Keep spreading the love you glorious being!

    Alanna xo
    www.ecowildchild.com

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  4. I've read this twice now, and both time found myself nodding along. Not only is fast fashion cruel but it's not even cheaper. A £5 tee from Primark will only last a few wears and you'll need to keep buying more, whereas a £30 tee will usually last a lot longer. Although with me being a size 18 I generally have no option but to shop in the 'budget' shops like Primark or ASOS as higher end brands don't really stock big booty sizes haha

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  5. Oh this sounds like such a great book, I'll definitely have to give it a read. Fast fashion isn't something I think too much about so I'll definitely have to read up more on it. I'm fairly good with my clothes- a lot of my wardrobe I have had for years, and since my style is pretty classic, I don't buy something for a trend that won't be in this time next year. But I could definitely shop a lot more ethically so I will have to try and make an effort to do so

    Lauren | Lauren the Daydreamer

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  6. This book sounds like it's really interesting. It's shocking isn't it what the fashion industry does to the environment, people and animals. It really makes you think twice doesn't it?

    I rarely buy clothes to be honest, I'm wearing last years summer clothes and even 2/3 summers ago clothes. I used to buy everything and anything but now I only really buy if I have too or if I REALLY love something.

    Katie x

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