It may sound preachy but, as consumers, I believe it is our responsibility to know where our clothes are made. The millions who slave away in places like China, Bangladesh and India, churning out goods for big fashion corporations, are often so badly underpaid that they are unable to afford basic living expenses.
It is not just unethical working conditions that are the problem with the modern fast fashion trend. Even if you are indifferent to what goes on thousands of miles away from you, it is also you, the consumer, who suffers as a result. Only in 2012, Greenpeace released their report “Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stitch-Up”, which revealed many facilities making cheap clothing for the major high street fashion payers were using hazardous chemicals.
And then there’s the impact on the environment. Continuing to manufacture clothes that are worn only a few times is a huge waste of natural resources. As consumers, if we choose to throw away our clothes after one season that has a big impact on our carbon and water footprints.
I was recently invited onto BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to discuss sustainable fashion. What got me there? Princess Anne’s choice of outfit to Royal Ascot. Whilst it was lovely to have such a high profile platform from which to support eco fashion, I do feel these issues should be taken a lot more seriously than they are currently by most.
When an item of clothing suits you well, a shirt in colour that flatters you or impeccably cut trousers that fit you perfectly, there is no harm in re-wearing it. Some of the world’s biggest fashion icons are synonymous with particular items of clothing that they wore again and again. Saying no to fast fashion won’t only benefit the world and our natural resources; it will benefit your sense of style.
About Tom Cridland
Tom Cridland, 26, is the founder of his eponymous sustainable fashion brand, famous for The 30 Year Collection – garments made so durably that they come with a 30 Year Guarantee. They are available at tomcridland.com.