I feel that at this point, the impact that fast fashion has on the environment, and some communities, is one that is overall negative. Products are created en masse for as low a cost as possible and in doing so, those who are making the clothes (sometimes child labour depending on the country) are working in horrendous conditions for pennies. It’s a shocking state of affairs. But this post isn’t to bash against those who purchase from fast fashion brands, I’ve stated in previous posts that there are times where I, myself, have also purchased from the Primarks of the world when I need something then and there. Sometimes cheap and cheerful clothes are all that some people can afford, and that’s okay, they should not be scrutinised for those choices. This post is however, here to scrutinise those brands who are creating this wasteful culture. I’m looking at you here, Pretty Little Thing.
I’m sure many of you have seen the recent sale that PLT have had on their website. Reducing items by up to 99%, meaning you could buy 5 wardrobes of clothes for less than £10 (perhaps a slight hyperbole but not far off the truth.) Perfect if you need new clothes and you’re on a tight budget, but this question must be raised – how can the company justify this cost? What are the factory workers being paid to be able to justify such a hefty discount? PLT are virtually fully online, so in regards to overhead costs, they’ve not been hit as poorly by the global pandemic, I’d argue that they’ve been doing really very well. It could well be that this is just their way of causing a publicity stunt to factor attention while getting rid of their old season stock. Bad press is good press and all of that. But ethically… There are much better ways around this. I must, however, state here that I am not accusing PLT has having harmful or unsafe working environments – I don’t know what the conditions are in their factories. I have no idea about staff morale, and have no insider knowledge, so on that front, I’m speaking from a very generalised point of view, I’m just questioning this event in particular as a way to talk about the fast fashion industry.
I stated before that I’m not here to scrutinise people who depend of fast fashion, and I wish to reiterate that I’m still not. This sale has probably been a godsend to a lot of people. However, it will have also fed into the human culture of “ooooh this is cheap, I’ll buy it now even though I don’t need it!”. How many of those clothes are going to be worn? What’s going to happen to the old clothes that these ones will replace? I guarantee that not everyone is recycling those clothes or giving them to charity shops so where do they end up? Landfill. And let’s not forget that most of the clothes that we wear in this day and age are a specialist blend of plastics, which when they degrade, are going to further pollute the already struggling planet.
These fast fashion brands do not care. They see the money, the publicity and the short term ecstacy and nothing more than that. We need to do better as consumers to force these companies to really change their practices or we will be stuck in the same routine. There are other options to cheap clothes – charity shops and fashion swaps are two prime examples. Save your money if you can, but don’t feel guilty if fast fashion is the only thing accessible to you. Although an ideal world would have us look after the planet first, it’s important to put yourself first and look after you – buy the clothing that you need to buy without feeling guilt over that.
I’ve gone on long enough, but I can have further rants about this, please let me know if you want me to discuss the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM Group) because OOOFT is that a novel of it’s own!
Please leave a comment below and let’s start a conversation.
Until next time, be excellent to each other