Do you ever consider the "real cost" of fast fashion?

(139 Posts)
ujjayi Fri 22-Mar-13 18:32:13

I love a bargain but have recently started wondering about the practices in the entire process of garment production which allow us to buy into fast fashion.

I been reading Naked Fashion by Safia Minney (founder of People Tree) and I really don't know if I can ever buy cheap clothes, or even certain not so cheap brands, again. Lots of brands claim to have a clear conscience but often they are only making that statement based on the "making up" factory experience and not the entire supply chain - dyeing and weaving for example.

How much consideration do you give to the ethical status of the brands you buy?

ujjayi Fri 22-Mar-13 20:01:30

Wow, ScottishMummy - I didn't expect such aggressive responses.

I totally agree with your POV about the lack of ethical fashion at reasonable prices/things you want to wear.

"Some hippy whining about the ethics of GAP doesn't cut it".

I wonder, does a 10 year old child working a 17 hour shift in a textile factory/weaving sweatshop cut it?

And with regards to income - I can afford to buy new but I chose to buy second hand more and more - even for my kids. It's been washed & it's clean. WTF is the problem with that? And I speak as someone who grew up the youngest of six, supported by a single mother on a nurses wage in the 1970s so yes, I know about deprivation and "the shame" of hand me downs.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 20:02:20

SM your posts sound so bitter.

I disagree about the money thing. We spent very little. Mostly got suff 2ndhand for the kids. I did it how I wanted for my own reasons.

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 20:03:16

Re: the charitable act. It makes us feel better (H&M has just started doing this too) but sorting is brutal, and unfortunately lots of the clothes have to be dumped/sent to the landfill. Some charities in my home town stopped accepting donated clothes because the waste disposal fees were higher than what they were able to make by selling the good bits. The Africa part is not simple either...

Hope I am not preaching. Have made my share of irresponsible purchases, guilty as charged. But sick and tired of it now and trying to change. And refuse to be labeled a whining hippie grin - I love beautiful clothes and fashion. But want to learn to consume in a more sustainable way.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 20:05:36

Oh I see the handwringing about ethics of clothes,profligate spending,waste is ok
I express contrary opinion and I'm bitter?lol Funny how that works with opinion no likey
I buy where,what I want and I'm aware there is poor practice doesn't inhibit my choice of retailer

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 20:07:19

It is what you say, it is how you say it. You attack people. That is what comes over as bitter.

TooMuchRain Fri 22-Mar-13 20:07:57

I want to buy more ethically sourced stuff too, at the moment what puts me off are the style and price of most of these. I don't buy a lot of new clothes but, like a lot of people, I could buy less and better.

Does anyone have any recommendations to share for more fashionable / fit for work ethical clothing?

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 20:08:03

Sorry, should read it ISN'T what you say, it is the way you say it.

ujjayi Fri 22-Mar-13 20:10:11

FrugalFashionista - I think we are essentially at the same point regarding our consumer behaviour.

It really wasn't my intention to start a bun-fight type thread - I was genuinely interested in whether people considered the ethics behind fashion. I stand guilty as charged of buying into H&M's bargain-tastic clothes in the past. It's just that having begun this research, I don't think I can go back.

The high street and fabric industry is awash with exploitation on many levels. And I agree with MrsCampbellBlack that charging £100 for a polyester blouse is outrageous (and even the mainlines of most designers are awash with polyester too).

I have no idea what the solution is. I just know that I am not happy to buy into it any more.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 20:10:16

I won't put my kids in 2nd hand as first choice,not when there is primark,asda
Have bought eBay baby stuff at good price so will dip in/out not my first choice though
If your disposable income allows you to buy more,and buy ethical.that's fine.and exercising ones choice as consumer. It's not important to me

PretzelTime Fri 22-Mar-13 20:10:29

OK I understand your comment now Frugal! It's often better to re-use the clothing you already have in some other way isn't, unless it's some nice brand name piece or similar that can be sold/swapped.

It's great how a lot of big clothing companies signed up to be on Greenpeace's Detox campaign. I wonder if it's possible to have them slow down and make less and better clothing though. Probably not as they will earn less but it's the only way forward. The current thin fabrics and all the polyester is turning a lot of customers off from buying the stuff.

PretzelTime Fri 22-Mar-13 20:13:46

It really wasn't my intention to start a bun-fight type thread - I was genuinely interested in whether people considered the ethics behind fashion.

This type of thread will probably always get angry/defensive type of responses because people can feel guilt tripped if they don't care or can't afford to care about ethical shopping.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 20:16:51

I'm not guilt tripped about my retail shopping in the least,don't presume I am
Why would I be guilty at choosing how I exercise free choice as consumer,and at good price
£2 for pkt vests, he'll that's not guilt that's bargaintastic and wholly guilt free

MrsDeVere Fri 22-Mar-13 20:29:24

Why are ethical clothes so horrible?

Are they designing the sort of clothes they think people like?

You must be able to make nice stuff ethically.

Do they think that we want to wear our ethics on our sleeves?

I haven't had a look recently so I could be way off the mark but it all used to be sludge coloured and frumpy or madly euroethnic.

Whats new on the ethical clothing front?

And here These are even worse than the dresses.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 22-Mar-13 20:34:10

The Emma Watson collaboration was quite nice but that was a while back

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 20:37:02

Ethical clothes always look like should be accompanied by verrucas,and lady mustache

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 20:37:06

Livia Firth has an ethical red carpet dressing initiative - so there is some high fashion effort too.

I have a friend who is evangelical about ethical fashion and she has found some decent stuff too (that is, if you like Acne type clothes).

nars Fri 22-Mar-13 20:38:42

i tend to buy LOTS from american apparel, they so called 'porn' angle is just a bit crackers imo. bodies are bodies!

i tend now to buy clothes that cost a bit more but I love and know they will last. i think people know the cost of cheaper clothing but when i was younger (80s) cheap clothing looked crap and didn't last 5 minutes, now at least there is alot of choice and middle range stuff which lasts a bit longer than usual

it was pretty crap in the 80s though unless you had money so wouldn't want to go back there

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 20:39:38

Livias looks here.

PretzelTime Fri 22-Mar-13 20:40:22

Yes I wish People Tree could make less quirky items and more "normal" and useful basics. The cardis are especially weird looking this season. I looked at their japanese site and they had TONS of more stuff. Why don't they sell it on their Uk site?!

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 20:42:30

Ujjayi - to some extent I think it is just a habit you give up.

I think beng very clear what you need is a good starting point. Have you looked at project 333?

I occasionally look at blogs and I see very similar outfits day after day. How many skinny jeans do people need? And scarves? I look at the pictures and see the same person wearing multiple versions of the same outfit, but if I knew that person I would hardly notice the slight change in jean colour from Monday to Tuesday. They need two pairs of really good trousers IMO. If they look great, they look great three days in a row.

V good point, Yellow.

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 20:45:50

Sustainable Kuyichi skinnies here (my friend loves them).

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 20:52:12

One more link from my friend and then I'll stop wink - some sleek minimalist stylish sustainable clothes here. Ladies, would you wear that?

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