Without consumers to push bad habits on, fast fashion companies will die. If we, as consumers, demand ethical practices, sustainable materials and better transparency from the brands we shop from then they will have no choice but to listen. Transparency in particular is important - asking a company to own up to their social and environmental impact will force them to be better and do better.
You can’t fix something you don’t understand. Whilst there’s a bunch of long-winded articles out there, you can also binge watch a BBC series called Breaking Fashion to see behind the scenes of a fast fashion company and its social and environmental impacts. If you want to know the major issues behind the industry, try Stacey Dooley’s documentary ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’ or Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act episode called ‘The Ugly Truth of Fast Fashion’. They help put facts and figures into perspective to give you a true understanding of the bigger problems- like the fact growing the cotton for a shirt uses 13 years of drinking water for one person.
Most brands will have their ethics available online, and lots of major retailers are now launching sustainable collections. Whilst these are a step in the right direction, you need to do your homework before buying into it; if you watched ‘The Ugly Truth of Fast Fashion’ you’ll know the difference between "less bad practices" and "better practices" and how easy it is for brands to lie to you about big problems.
Like we said before- without consumers to push products on, companies will die. You can use your power as a consumer to change the industry for good, whether that means cutting out fast fashion from your wardrobe all together, or simply changing your spending habits and ignoring the ‘buy more, buy now’ propaganda. If that’s not an option for you, satisfy your spending cravings by investing in sustainable brands that - yes, might cost more - but have social and environmental ethics, and almost always better quality.
An Article written by Katie Robinson