Fast Fashion is nothing new. Fast Fashion has been a growing aspect of the fashion industry for many years and it’s something that I researched a lot when studying my masters in Fashion Buying. I based my dissertation on the growth of Fast Fashion as well as its effect on the cost of clothing and the decline of the textiles industry in Britain, however, that was around 4 years ago and the pull of Fast Fashion is now even more extreme as our want for constant newness continues to surge. Fast Fashion has a place in all of our lives and wardrobes, but do we truly know and understand the vastness of its effects, which reach to much more than just our clothing choices each day?
How often do you hear or maybe say the phrase ‘I can’t wear that more than once’? Celebrities often get shamed in the press for outfit repeating and there is a constant need to keep up with the latest trends and get more ‘likes’ on social media, so with all this pressure is it any wonder a lot of us continuously buy clothes and renew our wardrobes, barely wearing the same item more than once.
I recently watched a BBC documentary called ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’ which hit me hard and raised a lot of questions in my mind. I’m sure many of you watched it too and if you didn’t I would highly recommend that you do. Without giving too much away, the program claimed that the fashion industry is the worlds second largest polluter (Oil being the first) and also discussed cotton growth and how much water it takes to grow the amount of cotton for the items we buy every week or every month. One shopper that Stacey Dooley approached held a single carrier bag containing around 3-4 items; it was revealed that to grow the cotton for these items would use more water than an average person would drink in over FORTY YEARS. In reality, many people can buy the above number of items in one week and then only wear some of those items once, but with so many countries suffering from water shortages, the amount of water we essentially waste by what we see as simple clothing choices begins to hit home.
On the same day that I watched Fashion’s Dirty Secrets, I also saw part of the Drowning in Plastic documentary which showed baby birds dying from the plastic they had consumed, mistaking it for food and the UN’s climate change report was also released – so all in all, I went to bed pretty gutted and upset about the damage we are causing to the planet, the people and animals who inhabit it.
The fashion and clothing industry has always been a fundamental part of my life, as a lot of my years so far I have spent either working in retail or studying fashion. Not to mention, I’m a typical shopaholic who loves buying new pieces and styling them whatever the occasion. Fashion and style to me is an art form, one that I think has so many different aspects to it and for this reason, I’ve always made it a huge part of my life.
Maybe it’s for this reason that ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’ really hit me hard. I felt a little ashamed and disgusted at what the industry is doing to the planet, but also angry at how un-educated we are as a nation. My partner did not have a clue that fashion was even a contributing factor when thinking about what causes pollution to the earth. He literally had no idea and even after studying and working in fashion myself, I was shocked to see how much I still have left to learn.
A combination of this Stacey Dooley documentary, the current plastic crisis and global warming provoked a little spark in my mind, one that won’t go away so I wanted to share my thoughts with you. A change is needed and at the moment, I’m unsure of where to start but what I do know is that any start has to be better than none at all.
I’m not saying that we all need to stop shopping and stop buying clothes. Like I touched on above, this industry is a huge part of my life and I don’t think that will ever stop but I hope to educate you guys on a side of the industry that we rarely see and to make a change to my own shopping habits – I think that’s something at least. I’m not saying I’m going to make drastic changes but I have a lot of thoughts going round in my head so anything I do move forward with, I’ll be sure to share with you guys here.
If you know of any sustainable UK fashion brands please comment below and let me know your thoughts!