What You Can Do - Fight Fast Fashion
We were delighted to welcome so many people to our screenings of The True Cost documentary on Wednesday 13th October in Harrogate. We received a lot of feedback after the film:
Following several requests from people at the event, we're providing the tips and information shared on the day highlighting what you can do to fight against fast fashion.
The two main courses of action are:
1. Change the way you shop
First of all, when you want to buy something, ask yourself is it really necessary? Do you know where it's come from? Who made it? How does the brand treat employees and suppliers i.e. the people working in the factories producing the clothes? Do your homework and don't be afraid to ask questions.
It's not easy! There is a lot of misinformation, often provided by the big brands, to try and convince you that they are considerate and fair employers, environmentally friendly with a social conscience. However... if they are promoting T-shirts with Save the Planet logos for sale at £1.80 just ask yourself - is that really possible if they're paying fair wages? We kid you not - we saw exactly this situation on Harrogate High Street this week!! This practice is sadly so common now there's a name for it - Greenwashing. Think twice and question what you're being told. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is when it comes to cheap clothing.
Our advice is to shop less, keep clothes for longer, repair rather than throw away and consider clothes swaps, charity shops and second hand purchases. You can find some great individual pieces for a lot less money and you're preventing so much going into landfill. Again though do your homework. Many charity shops dispose of unsold stock and it ends up in landfill. Oxfam is one organisation that guarantees that unwanted stock never ends up becoming part of the problem.
Below is our list of best buys and worst offenders when it comes to voting with your wallet. This lets brands know that you don't want to play any part in exploiting people for the sake of fashion. There is no clearer way to tell them that enough is enough.
Ethical Clothing Best Buys:
|Know the Origin
|Brothers We Stand
|Lucy and Yak
|Where Does it Come From
High Street Clothes Shops Best Buys:
High Street Clothes Shops Recommended Buys:
Clothing Company DO NOT Buys:
|Pretty Little Thing
2. Become an activist
Seriously, not nearly as radical and scary as it sounds! Consumer activism is 'a process by which activists seek to influence the way in which goods or services are produced or delivered'.
It's about pushing the fashion industry to transform for the better which in turn creates positive change on social and environmental issues. So what can you do?
Demand that governments ensure all fashion brands pay all of the workers throughout their supply chain, living wages.
Ask about a brand's environmental policy and ask for more environmentally responsible materials (low impact natural fabrics, recycled materials, plant-based dyes and finishes and so on). As the fashion industry is responsible for up to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, these shifts would also have a big impact on our efforts to minimise future damage and reduce climate impact.
It can all feel a little overwhelming but you are part of a community and part of a broader movement. You have the power to be part of a collective for change. Start small:
- Contact your MP
- Sign a petition
- Email a brand
- Post on social media
- Talk to a friend or family member, discuss your opinions, tell them how you feel or recommend an article or podcast they can read or listen to
- Follow advocacy groups and activists online. Share and repost content to help it reach more people. Examples are the Clean Clothes Campaign or Fashion Revolution and Emma Slade Edmondson or Daisy who runs 'I got it from the charity shop' on Instagram. There are more and more people out there promoting ethical sustainable fashion
- Host an event. At school, college, work or within a community group explore whether you could host a swap party or mending workshop
- Join a fashion activist group like those listed at the top of this post:
Above all, thank you for showing an interest and wanting to make a difference.
Print or download our sustainable clothing game and help your children find out more about the clothes we wear and the impact on our environment.