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Can Fast Fashion Be Sustainable?

Can Fast Fashion Be Sustainable?

Well We Aren't So Sure...

Good things should take time, fashion included.

The trend-led apparel industry is encouraging consumption to become more and more frequent, severely shortening the lifespans of our clothing.  This leads to 60% of clothing being either incinerated or sent to landfill within its first year (that’s about £140 million’s worth FYI).  Fashion now has 52 Seasons. We can’t keep up and nor do we want to!

60% of clothing being either incinerated or sent to landfill within its first year

According to Love Your Clothes Campaign, In the average UK household, nearly a third of clothes (worth over £1,000 per household, £30 billion in total) haven’t been worn in the last year.  Poor quality fabrics and rock bottom prices are both to blame for the majority of society taking the phrase ‘outfit of the day’ far too literally.

‘But what about ‘conscious’ collections?’ you ask.  ‘Surely, if something is made from organic cotton, it must be better for the planet, right?’  Well, yes.  But that’s only solving a very small part of the problem, particularly as collections with words like ‘conscious’, ‘ethical’ or ‘eco’ in front of them generally account for less than 30% of a retailer’s overall offering.  The issue that is long overdue for some proper addressing is the sheer amount of pieces produced, as well as the salaries and the working conditions of those making them which is still abominable in many cases.

After the tragic Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, the minimum wage for garment workers did increase, to 8,000 taka (approx 95 US dollars) a month, up from 5,300 taka (63 US dollars), but factory standards did not improve by any means. Many buildings still had structural flaws and lacked adequate hygiene and safety facilities, meaning working conditions were still hugely compromised.  Fast fashion sales also increased by roughly 20%, meaning individuals were pressured to produce even more garments.  On Olivia Firth’s visit to a factory in Bangladesh that informed her podcast with Eco Age, she found employees being forced to make up to 200 pieces an hour!

Bangladesh workers were found to be making up to 200 pieces an hour!

Bottom Line: It's A No.

So, bottom-line: it’s a no from us.  We at REV believe that fashion should be fair, transparent, and stand the test of time.  That’s why we love the Mother Of Pearl No Frills collection, which is comprised of staple pieces that never go on sale.  Ethics sit at the heart of this London-based designer’s philosophy: creation without compromise. They operate through a supply chain that can be traced from field to fibre to fabric to final garment and prioritize social responsibility.  Certifications like GOTS, FWF, Nordic Swan as well as regular factory inspections ensure that their gorgeous blouses, dresses and tees are produced under the fairest possible standards!

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So if, after hearing that fast fashion can never be sustainable as a business model, you’re feeling inspired to make changes to the way that you shop for your clothing, but are questioning the affordability of a wardrobe that properly considers people and the planet here are our tips on how to go about it in a more accessible way than luxury prices can offer!

Buy Less and Buy Better

Investing in high quality, trend-resistant pieces every once in a while that you’ll wear again and again as opposed to regularly buying outfits that’ll only see the light of day a handful of times is a great way to be socially responsible without breaking the bank.

Re-wear and Repair

It sounds obvious, but getting as much wear as possible out of your clothing is the ultimate antidote to ‘throwaway fashion.’  Repair old clothes with snags and missing buttons instead of replacing them, and give your bags and shoes some TLC every now and then.  We can’t recommend The Restory enough for keeping our leather goods in shape.

Learn The Art of Thrifting

Taking clothing from pre-loved to re-loved is both rewarding and great for the environment. The REV girls favourite thrifting spots are Notting Hill, with its charity shops full of beautiful second-hand clothing as well as online boutiques Retold and Le Deux Birds.

 

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