A New Report Released By The Changing Markets Foundation Highlights The Damaging Consequences Of Fast Fashion
A New Report Released By The Changing Markets Foundation Highlights The Damaging Consequences Of Fast Fashion.
And with the ever-growing demand for fast fashion from our high-street retailers (and our consumption of clothing is only set to rise by 60% by 2030), we need to initiate the need for a dramatic change in the way that we produce and process clothing.
A report released by the Changing Markets Foundation has found that factories producing viscose in Indonesia, China and India have been operating under questionable working practices, and highlights the environmental and social impact of the production of this fibre.
Whilst viscose, a man-made cellulose fibre derived from wood pulp, is said to be a more sustainable and ethical alternative to materials such as polyester or cotton, it often isn’t due to its prevalent production methods and ‘toxic run-off’ which has been found to be contaminating local water supplies and increasing the chance of major health risks for those that work to create and manufacture this fibre.
However, the ‘green’ label which fibre producers and clothes retailers routinely hang on viscose, is often very misleading and ignores the chemically intensive and highly polluting methods still used to manufacture this most versatile of materials.’ The report goes on to explain how the production of this fibre has quite a chequered history and how viscose rayon has a reputation of causing severe human health impacts as a result of the chemicals used to produce it.
Whilst traditional fashion brands only release two collections a year, many high-street retailers are releasing between 16 to 20 collections a year and the effect of this is undeniable in terms of the amount of waste being generated at both the production and ‘post-consumer’ end.
And think about it, how often do we go online and browse the ‘new in’ section of our favourite clothing websites only to be disappointed that there aren’t any new styles since we last checked two days ago?
Another interesting point raised by this report is how in order to keep production costs down, the fashion industry has started to outsource production to cheaper places in the Global South, which offer both poorly protected workers and lax environmental standards.
And this is an overriding issue with fast fashion, that this industry often places overwhelming pressure on workers in increasingly poor conductions to produce faster and faster in decreasing time constraints.
In an interview with the Retail Gazette, Changing Markets campaign manager Natasha Hurley said, ‘cheap production, which is driven by the fast fashion industry, combined with lax enforcement of environmental regulations in China, India and Indonesia, is proving to be a toxic mix,’ she then adds ‘with water pollution increasingly being recognised as a major business risk, shifting to more sustainable production processes should be high on retailers’ agendas.’ This report dramatically highlights the need for us to call for enhanced transparency and traceability throughout textile supply chains, as with transparency hopefully comes more accountability and responsibility for retailers and increased consciousness and awareness from consumers.