Plastic hangers on rail

Common myths about fast fashion

When talking about the global welfare of fast fashion and how it is a major contributor to climate change, I often hear these myths being thrown around. Read on for the truth behind the myth.

  • Work opportunities - Many argue that fast fashion is bringing an abundance of work opportunities across the globe. The truth: this 'abundance of opportunity' brings about exploitation of workers. Employers need to be held responsible for their workers' wages. Unfortunately this is not the case, and all that fast fashion does is create unrealistic high demands for more stock which puts pressure on the factory owners which then further exploits the workers
  • Factories are responsible for low wages - People think that it is the people in charge of the factories that are at fault of low wages. The truth: The factories do not get paid enough for their work, and are threatened that they will have contracts with big businesses pulled if they refuse a demand. It is the higher powers above them that cash in on the high profit margins through the exploitation of the factories and its workers. Brands that reap from these ridiculously high profits are the ones that should be held responsible for the entire supply chain.
  • Clothes made in the UK or the US are ethically made - When people see a label of a garment that is made in a western country, it is automatically presumed that this means there are laws in place to prevent low wages and exploitation. The truth: Exploitation is global, and laws are ignored. In recent years, there have been at least a couple of big brand fast fashion companies based in Leicester UK that have been shown to exploit their workers. 
  • Expensive luxury brands only produce limited collections and therefore do not contribute to fast fashion - The truth: firstly, the assumption that a higher cost item automatically means that the garment workers receive a higher wage is not always the case, as the simliar transactions are made to those of the fast fashion brands between brand and suppliers and factories. And even though the brands may only produce exclusive limited collections, this contributes to fast fashion in the sense that it is this that then sets the tone for the designs of fast fashion brands, producing more in quicker time scales.
  • Lack of recycling - People argue that the reason we have so many clothes in landfill is because there is a lack of recycling infrastructure. The truth: overconsumption. Big brands are ordering more than they can sell, too much too quickly and consumers are buying more than they can wear. We cannot recycle our way out of existing landfill.

Exploitation is the word behind fast fashion, and fast fashion is contributing to climate change on an unspeakable scale. Organisations such as The Fashion Revolution have been making great progress in making the situation known, but unfortunately it is still the greedy CEOs of major brands that ignore their own destructive practices for the sake of lining their own pockets.

Unfortunately, to get legislation into place in a uniform and global manner is proving to take a huge amount of time. Therefore, creating awareness about the issue gives consumers a choice in where they shop and what to buy. Organisations are creating campaigns to put pressure on individual brands, calling them out. For instance, there has been progress made in getting brands to sign up to the International Accord which ensures that the factories of their suppliers are safe to work in. You can find out which brands have still not yet signed up to the accord at:

Get involved, and learn more with the Clean Clothes campaign.

Photo: Elīna Arāja at Pexels

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published