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?

TigerseyeMum Fri 22-Mar-13 20:54:17

I think someone's account has been hacked, it is school holiday time after all smile

VerySmallSqueak Fri 22-Mar-13 20:54:26

I buy or acquire the vast majority of my clothes and the kids clothes second hand.

If I am given stuff I gratefully accept what I am given.

If I buy second hand I don't exclusively get ethically produced stuff but I am really pleased if I can make a purchase that is both ethically produced and second hand.

But I do what I can and can do no more.

I do buy school uniform where I need to get it new from places like Tesco's because it's too expensive otherwise,and it's needed in quantity.

PretzelTime Fri 22-Mar-13 20:55:52

Why do you think someone's account has been hacked?

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 22-Mar-13 20:56:30

I think its definitely easier to be ethichal if one has money or access to amazing designers like Livia.

Also easier to shop more from one's own wardrobe if its full of older designer stuff. Or if one has inherited amazing vintage Chanel from relatives like a lot of people I read about in magazines.

And if you wear jeans all the time and only have 2 pairs - they'll wear out pretty quickly.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 20:57:55

I find jeans very tricky actually because they are rubbish 2ndhand, i think people tend to wear their beloved jeans a lot so you don't get many nice ones in charity shops and vintage stores are more expensive than new cheap ones.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 22-Mar-13 20:58:07

Ethical I meant!

I wonder also if years ago people's weights fluctuated less so a woman could wear the same few dresses for years and years where as now so many of us have issues with out size.

Over the last 10 years I've fluctuated a lot weight wise and know when I'm at my heaviest is when I buy disposable fashion as I want the 'lift' of something new but don't want to spend much.

TigerseyeMum Fri 22-Mar-13 20:59:05

Because no one writes like that without being a 14 year old on a wind up. Or pissed. Or both.

Like what?

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 21:03:33

Ethical requires disposable income,it's a choice associated with prosperity
at back to school when 2for1 it's really cost effective,and in recession that's important
I don't consider ethical when buying,I buy on desire,cost,and I'm guilt free.I'm bemused anyone presumes guilt about how I spend my own money

TigerseyeMum Fri 22-Mar-13 21:05:14

Like my £10 dress I wear for work and have done for about a year? Which everyone always asks about? Rolling in it, me.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 21:08:53

My two pairs are holding up ok.

I have no budget for clothes. I have no wardrobe to fall back on. I do have Some old clothes but never had much quality as never had money!

I manage fine.

PretzelTime Fri 22-Mar-13 21:09:33

wonder also if years ago people's weights fluctuated less so a woman could wear the same few dresses for years and years where as now so many of us have issues with out size.
Yes this is interesting. Even if people's weights fluctuated less in general there was always pregnancy and illness etc. Perhaps it was easier to alter clothing in the past. Women usually wore dresses and those could perhaps have extra fabric that was sewn in or let out if you understand what I mean?

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 21:09:59

Well done on bargain,does it nean you've got halo or good eye for bargain
Have you looked at the links the brands getting mentioned there not cheap
Shop how you want,that's point.we have choices.capitalism gives us choice how we spend

practicality Fri 22-Mar-13 21:11:36

I have tried going down the ethical route re clothing but it's harder than you imagine, especially when it comes to childrens clothes.

Ethical school uniform, socks, underwear etc? Hard to find. Then there is the school uniform that is required with school motifs etc. Trainers and shoes.

Bras and other underwear are tricky.

I have tried things from different companies such as Komodo, Nomads, Giggle,Seasalt and Gringo and I have to say there are two problems. Firstly there is a look attached to these clothes which I now feel stands out too much for me. I like oretty plain stuff.Secondly, in my experienece, nearly all the clothes have worn badly and don't last which rather defeats the object in terms of sustainability.

I am quite attracted to EKO clothing but haven't tried it yet.
I like Conker Shoes -love the higher POB. These are a good buy to my mind.

I have come to the conclusion that buying plain basics is the way forward- of the best quality and where I can buy ethically. I like Gringo Bali shrugs for example over a black maxi dress but I cannot find an ethical black maxi in jersey which is a wardrobe staple for me.

Until there really is a viable alternative then people just have to try to work with what they can do but I don't think it is entirely possible to be completely ethical on the clothing front.

There are issues to consider around leather, dyes, materials, transporting goods, chemicals in non leather goods and durability as well as exploitative labour.

I often wonder how non exploitative ethical clothing really is. It is hard to track down a firm answer to this.

TigerseyeMum Fri 22-Mar-13 21:11:50

Capitalism gives us choice so long as others are slaves. Personally I don't want that. I can avoid that by spending little by shopping widely. You're right, that's my choice.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 21:11:59

I think the weight thing does cause problems, yes. And the worst is maternity stuff! So expensive.

awaywego1 Fri 22-Mar-13 21:12:24

I do worry about it. I don't have much money so buy pretty much all of my clothes from eBay or charity shops. I actually really like a lot of people tree stuff, but the cost is prohibitive new. Buying secondhand not ethical feels better for me than buying new. I avoid primark etc but I don't have kids so imagine if I did I'd buy there clothes from wherever I could afford rather than having the luxury of buying ethically.

florascotia Fri 22-Mar-13 21:13:41

I absolutely take your point, scottishmummy and others. Many organic/ethical clothes are indeed very pricey.

I have no wish whatsover to preach. I can't afford to buy organic/ethical new clothes all the time. But it is a long-term aim to try. And I am a fan of buying second-hand - although, logically speaking, if there were fewer wasteful first-time purchases, there wouldn't be so many second-hand bargains.... This is not a straightforward issue!

In case anyone would like to see it, here is some information about cotton farming from the World Wildlife Fund.
wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/about_freshwater/freshwater_problems/thirsty_crops/cotton/

However, I wish that, as well as raising awareness of the problems, the WWF (or someone - it probably needs politicians and a mass movement) could help make it easier for the customer-in-the-street to find affordable, ethical and attractive garments.

I am not an economist, but it seems to me that policy-makers and manufacturers/retailers need to do some more joined-up thinking. On the one hand, creating new jobs in clothes factories is often welcomed as 'good' development, and retail sales figures are anxiously monitored for signs of increase, while, at the same time, producing the raw materials to be sewn in the same factories or sold in the same shops is environmentally disastrous.

TigerseyeMum Fri 22-Mar-13 21:14:55

People Tree has amazing sales though. The top I'm wearing now cost about £7 I think, reduced from £40. It's just a basic long sleeve cotton top.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 21:20:37

Consumer power is v potent.the ability to chose how you sound your money
The influence you want your money to have,how one exerts preference
And pragmatically how you make your money work for you,based on preference and budget

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 21:21:45

Final link - this I found on my own.
Swoonworthy sustainable fashion.
May have been converted...

At our school, almost everyone wears hand-me-down uniforms - the school has regular used uniform sales and most of our uniform items are bought from there. It's cheap and convenient for parents and there is no stigma.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 21:26:25

Ironically I think certain mc like being worthy and doing 2nd hand shabby chic
It's a uniform,boys with longish hair,shabby chic 2nd hand
Essentially do what you want with your money,and let others do what they want too

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 21:26:56

I'm going to hunt out some jumble sales I think. I am in the mood for a 50p bargain!

There is a car boot sale near me, the clothes are unbelievably cheap.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 21:28:43

Ye gods, not boys with longish hair! [Shock] grin

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 21:29:26

Erm, shock went MIA!

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