H&M, Topshop, Pretty Little Thing, New Look, ASOS.
What do these companies (among many others) all have in common? Easy. They’re fast fashion retailers!
The phrase “fast fashion” has become more popular in recent years, but what does it mean, and why does it carry such negative connotations? Read on and we’ll let you know why we avoid fast fashion, and why we think that you should too.
What Is Fast Fashion?
Trends come and go - that has always been the case. But we can now produce clothing so quickly, and at such low prices, that people can change their wardrobes weekly - throwing away last week's purchases to make space for the next.
Fast fashion refers to clothing that people can buy for a low price, is created using unsustainable materials and is often thrown out after just a few wears (whilst not biodegrading for possibly hundreds of years). It’s about people trying to keep up with the aesthetic of Instagram influencers, celebrity culture and TikTok fashionistas.We’re not saying that looking good and being fashionable is in any way problematic, but that the way people achieve this can be.
What Is Sustainable Clothing?
Sustainable clothing is about looking and feeling good in items that will stay on-trend for years, created using quality fabrics that are made to last.
Maybe you don’t want to go full capsule wardrobe, but we’ve created and curated products that are the perfect foundation to any clothing collection. For example, our Bamboo Essential Tee is one of our best sellers - a staple that you can dress up or dress down easily - maintaining your individual style, whilst simultaneously maintaining the environment. What’s more, you can get a bundle of three for just £75.
Fast Fashion Benefits
Erm… you look good? For the month that the item you’re wearing is popular for?Unfortunately, there are far more downsides.
What’s The Issue With Fast Fashion?
Human Rights Violations - Sorry, we’re starting out really dark here, but we think it’s important to shine a light on these problems.
As well as workers being underpaid, many raw materials for fast fashion retailers are sourced in unsafe ways. Just look at this study about female cotton pickers in Pakistani Punjab.
It’s not just getting the materials that’s an issue though. The creation of fast fashion garments is highly problematic, with workers being underpaid in environments that can be both physically and psychologically harmful.
We only use suppliers who take part in the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA), which you can read more about here. This means safe conditions, a good living wage, fair working hours and a voice for the working people. Some of our suppliers go above and beyond here - offering a free collection and drop off service, as well as a free meal every day.
Rate Of Fashion Consumption - In the last two decades, the rate of clothing consumption has increased by 400%. Whilst the population has increased in this time, it is nowhere near the same level. This means more raw materials, more exploitative labour practices and more waste.
In contrast, our clothing is made to last, so you won't be buying a replacement item anytime soon. We are very proud of one ‘complaint’ that we received, stating that our clothing ‘lasts too long!’.
Textile And Water Waste - With the aforementioned rate of consumption, textile and water waste is always going to be a problem. Throwing away these cheaply made items means more will be produced to replace them, and the synthetic fabrics used can take 50-200 years to disintegrate. Comparatively, our bamboo clothing biodegrades in as little as 2-4 months - its ‘full-cycle’ nature is just one of the many reasons to love this fabric.
It takes about 200 tonnes of water to produce 1 tonne of dyed fabric - not only is that A LOT of waste water, it’s also frequently disposed of poorly. This leads to infected water supplies, making the water unsafe to drink and damaging the surrounding fauna and flora.
We know. For a company named Positive Outlook Clothing, this has been a pretty miserable blog. Sustainable clothing is just something that we are very passionate about, and we find fast fashion a tricky thing to hold in any semblance of positive regard.
SO, we’d love you to shop with us and end up with something that looks great, is environmentally friendly, and good for your wallet (as you won’t be buying another item in a few weeks’ time).Once you’ve felt bamboo fabric, you’ll never go back to a polyester blend!If you would like to learn more about how our bamboo clothing is created, head over to our previous blog.
Blog Author: Ben Oliver - Jan 29th 2021