Fashion industry needs more transparency, says report
by Lucie Machin
What's Going On Here?
Six years after the Rana Plaza clothes factory collapse in Bangladesh, which killed 1,138 people, Fashion Revolution have just released their annual fashion Transparency Index.
This reveals how much information the 200 biggest fashion brands disclose about factors such as their working conditions and environmental impact.
Who Are These Guys?
In 2018, global fashion sales grew by a massive 4.5%, with consumers spending a whopping $1.7 trillion in 2018, with many of these purchases being made online.
Online shopping gives us a double dopamine hit: once when buying an item and once when we open it. This could be further fuelling our addiction to fast fashion, which is bad news for the environment and for garment workers.
Fashion is a notoriously polluting industry and most of the people making our clothes still live in poverty. It’s estimated that the fashion industry emits ~ 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas (around 10% of global emissions) each year. This is being made worse in part by next-day-delivery, leading to more delivery trucks being sent out, often half-empty. Making matters worse, fast fashion items are often worn less than 5 times, and less than 1% of clothing material is recycled into new clothing at the end of its lifespan.
Why Should We Care?
This report shows that whilst transparency is improving, the average transparency is still a tiny 21%, meaning there is still a lot of secrecy surrounding how our clothes are made. This suggests that fashion companies have something to hide. Are you comfortable about that? We’re not either...
However, there are signs of opposition to fast fashion, with more brands opting for sustainable materials; second-hand garments rocketing in popularity (perhaps even overtaking fast fashion by 2030); and there’s even a move to develop ‘virtual reality clothing’ which can be digitally fitted onto users’ photographs!
Check out Fashion Revolution’s events this week, read their Transparency Index 2019 to see how brands are scoring and ask #whomademyclothes to demand more transparency in the fashion industry.
Before jumping on the internet for your next fashion-fueled high, think: “can I buy this second hand?”. If you do decide to buy something new, check out the Ethical Consumer guide to see which brands have the best ethical and environmental scores!
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