Fast Fashion Exploits Women
Fast Fashion is all about producing cheap affordable fashion that moves quickly from the catwalk to the retailer, in order to capture the next fashion trend. We use to have four logical seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter; but today we have new fashion being unpacked in stores almost every week! Have you noticed that in certain shops selling cheaper fashion, that the few staff are kept constantly busy unpacking a new load of fashion most of the time? Well that is fast fashion in action.
Many of the bigger Fashion Houses like Forever 21, H & M, Gap, Top Shop and Zara to name but a few, are engaged in the constant turn over of quick cheap fashion; but at what cost? Well there are actually many costs of this fashion obsession to the environment, and especially to the women and girls involved in producing it, in sweat shops in many of our worlds poorest countries. We are also affected, as we end up with copious amounts of poorly made products that clutter our wardrobes, our minds and eventually our landfill.
Fast fashion predominately utilises the polyester fibre (in over half of the clothing made), which is a polluting plastic, made from fossil fuels, and requires a huge amount of energy to do so. When washed, these fabrics shed micro plastics into the oceans, which the fish eat and when we eat the fish it ends up inside us. Polyester is non biodegradable and every piece of polyester that has ever been produced is still on the planet today; and when there is 150 Billion new pieces being made every year, the cost to the environment is frightening.
But the most deplorable feature of the Fast Fashion Industry, is the fact that of the 1 in 6 people from around the world who work in this industry, 80% of them are women, girls or forced child labour. These women and girls are paid less than a living wage, and so they are locked into poverty, with many of the children working simply to be able to buy food. This is despite the fact that many are working 10 hour days in horrendous conditions, being abused by cruel and disgusting men who slap, beat and abuse them (see the video above). The countries who make this type of apparel include China 41%; Vietnam 9.8%; Bangladesh 6.8%, Indonesia 5% and many more of the poorest nations on earth.
What can we do to stop this from happening? Well actually there is a lot we can do.
We can take our fashion choices more seriously, by only choosing garments which we absolutely love, instead of 12 or more that were cheap, but only OK. We can also look into our favourite fashion labels and check to see if they have been ethically produced, where they are made and if they actively look after their workers. Finally we can think about the fabrics that are fashion is made from and opting for natural fibres, preferably that are organically produced and to consider keeping those fewer items for much longer, as quality items will last much longer.
Think before we buy and make our dollars count, buy sending a clear message to the fashion producers, that we will NOT SUPPORT an industry that treats our fellow women and girls like third class citizens; and which shows no respect for the environment which our children and grandchildren will inherit. This is exactly where Wonderous Women can join together to make a difference in the lives of 1 in 6 people in the world! Please share with all women you know and let's get this problem fixed.