Fast fashion is getting a bad press at the moment, is it fair?

We’ve been reading up a lot lately about the industry and uncovered some scary fast fashion facts which made us feel a little bit uneasy.

The rise of fast fashion retailers selling £5 dresses has been exponential, with online retailers like Boohoo increasing profits by 40% last year. But should we be looking at the real impact of the clothes we’re buying and is there a bigger problem? Do we really need to buy that extra pair of jeans – what’s wrong with the 7 pairs in the wardrobe?

The environmental impact of fast fashion

The production of one pair of jeans needs approximately 7000 litres of water. More than the average person drinks in 5-6 years.

The fashion industry’s impact on climate is expected to increase 49% by 2030.

Every year the industry produces 14 items of clothing for every person on the planet. 60% of which ends up in landfill within a year of being made.

Fashion is the 2nd most polluting industry in the world. Second only to oil.

The people making our clothes

300 million people producing cotton are living in poverty. That’s nearly the same number of people who live in the US.

Chemical exposure in their jobs means the average non-organic cotton farmer in India will be expect to die in their mid-30’s.

Over 50% of workers within the fashion industry are not paid the minimum wage in countries like India and the Philippines.

The sustainable fashion movement

We’re all for everyone looking great but should it be at the expense of the environment and the people producing our clothing?

Thankfully a rise in ethical clothing brands using organic cottons, sustainable supply chains and technology allowing people to swap clothing are all having a positive impact but it remains to be seen if the movement can keep up with the pace of growth in fast fashion retail.


Mitchel runs ethical marketing agency Reward which works with brands doing good, he's passionate about social mobility, the environment and ethical business.

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