With the sudden sustainability surge across all business platforms, some of the biggest waste-producing culprits ( the fast fashion industry) have taken steps toward becoming greener. However, is this strategy just an act just to keep up with the trends and avoid being canceled? Will they keep up the act if sustainability is not trendy anymore? There are many sides to this topic that can be argued.
The ‘Solution’ To Fast Fashion
In recent months, fast fashion giants such as Pretty Little Thing and Boohoo have implemented their take on sustainability. With the ambassadorial help of Love Island finalist Indiyah Polack, PLT has introduced a ‘Market place’ scheme giving consumers a place to re-home their pre-loved fashion. Whilst this is a productive step towards sustainability, this does not necessarily mean the reduction of fast fashion. It places the responsibility onto the consumer rather than the producer taking responsibility for any eco-friendly effort.
Additionally, they are not doing anything new. Consumers already have multiple popular resale websites where they can sell a variety of branded products they own, so what is PLT doing? Boohoo has partnered with Kourtney Kardashian intending to produce more sustainable materials, the statements being made with little to no evidence of how this will be done. Both brands have faced criticism which neither has responded to, but continue to pay large sums of money to ambassadors that are happy to promote their products without knowing the full implication of doing so. Overall until we can see significant change or responsibility for their waste, there is a lot more to be done.
Support Sustainable Brands
When becoming more sustainably aware, it can be a long tiresome process boycotting the businesses mentioned and acknowledging the companies doing the work. Be sure to do your research and use your initiative if a widely known fast fashion brand is advertising climate benefits, the chances are 80% of the business is still exploiting the environment and are happy to keep it that way. If you are wondering what to do with unwanted clothes, we would suggest reliable re-sale sites such as Depop, Vinted, and most importantly charity shops. Charity shops are not only valuable to environmental sustainability, but they are also beneficial to the cause they support.
Become material conscious
Having knowledge of the variety of materials and how much impact they have is crucial. A basis for the most damaging yet common material is to avoid virgin synthetics such as polyester, as it makes up 55% of clothes globally. Polyesters are made from fossil fuels and typically take years to decompose. Although seemingly ‘natural’, other earth-drawn materials made differently have much better impacts and do not use harmful pesticides. Womens organic t-shirts can be made from materials such as organic cotton, hemp, linen, and even bamboo linen. These are just a few examples of how clothes and textiles can be used responsibly, finding the brands that are using such techniques will be valuable for the future of the planet.
With all points mentioned, accepting the efforts of fast fashion giants is a two-sided argument. On one hand, they could just avoid all environmentally friendly efforts as they make enough money to do so, yet they have attempted some form of change. The only problem is that these changes are not significant or equivalent to the actual damage they are producing and therefore their efforts will be deemed irrelevant in the long term. They are simply pressing the responsibility onto the consumers to buy into their schemes, rather than largely trying to limit their impact on the environment. Adapting techniques away from the greenwashing companies will be the best way to send a message to the fashion giants. They want to keep on trend, and if their target market begins to focus on buying and not just selling sustainably, perhaps we will see a greater shift toward a brighter environmental future.