New Report: Fixing Fashion

On the last day of London Fashion Week, the UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee released a report, ‘Fixing Fashion: Clothing Consumption and Sustainability’.

Its Chair, Mary Creagh MP, released this statement:

Fashion shouldn’t cost the earth. Our insatiable appetite for clothes comes with a huge social and environmental price tag: carbon emissions, water use, chemical and plastic pollution are all destroying our environment.

“In the UK we buy more clothes per person than any other country in Europe. ‘Fast fashion’ means we overconsume and under use clothes. As a result, we get rid of over a million tonnes of clothes, with £140m worth going to landfill, every year.

Fashion retailers have 'chased the cheap needle around the planet', commissioning production in countries with low pay and little trade union representation. Behind the perfect Instagram profiles and the pristine shop fronts of our fashion retailers the reality is shocking. Illegally low pay, the use of child labour, prison labour, forced labour and bonded labour in the global garment supply chain.

I’ve attached the full report here, or chapter-by-chapter here.

It’s a ground-breaking report which lays bare the industry’s global failings - on an environmental, human and social scale.

You’ll remember the uproar last year when Burberry announced that it had burned £28.6 billion worth of unused clothing.

But the fact is, every single retailer does this - all of them. The sheer volume that’s being produced, without first checking if there’s the demand to make it, is so horrific it’s almost hilarious.

What isn’t burned is sent to landfill in the developing world, slowly releasing toxic fumes that further pollute our planet.

Anyway. Reports like these that shed further light on the different dimensions to the problem, with new research and data, and innovative recommendations, are exactly what we need.

This report contains recommendations for governments, the fast fashion industry, and on us as consumers. The latter is the most important for you and me - think and ask before you buy. Is the business you are supporting with your hard-earned money reflecting your values? Does it treat its employees fairly? Does it pollute the planet, or work to protect it? Where does it get its materials from? How does it give back to society?

And by asking these questions, the fact is we are all, slowly but surely moving the needle in the right direction.

Slow and ethical fashion has slowly been gaining over the past few years, with 65-70% of us deliberately choosing brands based on ethics.

Your support of brands like Syra Brownlock is central to that - so thank you! And let’s keep going!