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 18:50:01

I buy Peole Tree for this reason, or Brora or Celtic Sheepskin.

I also get a few bits and bobs in normal high street shops.

The rest I buy used off Ebay.

I do think about it but times are hard so I do what I can.

ujjayi Fri 22-Mar-13 19:00:09

TigerseyeMum - I agree, costs are probably central to most peoples' purchasing behaviour. But I also think that we collectively have a very greedy and irresponsible attitude towards clothes - too much buying on a whim or because it's a bargain. And the fact is that those cheap clothes rarely turn out to be a true bargain because they don't last.

Vintage, charity shops, eBay, buy less but pay more.

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 19:03:09

I'm concerned about fast fashion, and trying to change my ways.
Unfortunately many ethical clothes are hideous not exactly my style.
I'm interested in fairtrade and labor conditions, but many say that the certification processes are flawed and that outsourcing arrangements make it very difficult to track who is doing what. But I've been reading about cotton in Uzbekistan and it's not a pretty story.

My personal solution is to buy as little new as possible. I'm interested in recycling and thrifting and have been trying to mend, alter, repurpose - to love and respect my clothes.

Ujj I have a long reading list for you if interested wink

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 19:05:35

Completely agree about the greedy and irresponsible consumerism. Filling a charity bag is not a charitable act!

PretzelTime Fri 22-Mar-13 19:20:48

Lots. I have read a lot about awful working conditions and the enviromental impact of fast fashion. The quality is awful these days too so I can't stand shops like H&M now!
I try to buy from more ethical brands and to hunt down things that seem well-made and buy some from thrift stores. I buy less now but to find the clothes is hard work!

Filling a charity bag is not a charitable act!
How do you mean?

I read a history of fashion lately and was surprised to see that American Apparel are fairly ethical. However, since I won't buy them because of their soft-porn adverts, they are still no use to me. (The book made a big point of saying that their advertising was off-putting too). Unfortunately, most of the People Tree etc clothes are just not really my kind of style.

I tend to buy less and buy better quality, overall - but it's difficult. I won't shop in Primark at all but I suspect that other places are bad too. I just think it's obvious that no shop could be selling shoes for a tenner etc unless they are doing something morally/ethically reprehensible somewhere down the line.

florascotia Fri 22-Mar-13 19:33:05

I have no connection with this company but here are some good quality plain organic cotton basics, incl tights. (Non-organic cotton is very polluting and consumes precious water resources.) Some styles more flattering than others, but in my experience they wear well....

www.greenfibres.com

I don't think about it because I don't really buy fast fashion - I only really like Brora, Boden, Seasalt, white company, celtic sheepskin, and second hand good quality stuff from eBay.

I think probably the worst company I buy from is Phase Eight - high street shop so probably aren't that ethical.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 19:35:44

I buy what I like because I like it.high street,boutique,designer
And quite frankly sone hippy whining on about the ethics of gap doesn't cut it
My ethical stance is no fur

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 19:42:28

Yes, I do and I buy a lot of 2ndhand or ethical for this reason. But not 100% of my purchases.

Have never been really into fast fashion anyway but for the last ten years or so have been more conscious about a lot of my shopping.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 19:43:27

Having adequate disposable income let's the consumer reject bargains in favor of pricy ethical
However if you're on budget and tesco sell school shirts,then tesco it is
I detest the affluent preaching to others how,where,what to shop.if one wants to exercise consumer choice purchasing ethical and pricy that's your prerogative

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 19:48:43

No oneis preaching except you SM.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 22-Mar-13 19:49:03

I'm torn. I agree with Scotthishmummy that its harder to be ethical in purchasing if on a very limited budget and I think back to my childhood and life would have been a lot easier in many ways if there were more affordable/fashionable clothes around for children.

But so much of everything now is throwaway from sofas to dishwashers to clothes. Although there is now more chance to buy secondhand with ebay etc than there ever used to be.

I do prefer to buy better brands though as I'm not keen on the quality/fabrics used in shops such as primark. But then I feel that some more expensive brands are trying to rip consumers off now by selling shoddy fabrics at expensive prices.

Handy score board here.

apatchylass Fri 22-Mar-13 19:52:30

I hate fashion full stop. I have no faith whatsoever that more expensive clothes are more ethically or reliably sourced. They just give higher returns to the shareholders.

Given that we all shop on the high street then I tend to go for cheaper clothes, but if two things are similar in design or price and one is fair trade cotton the other isn't, I'd go for fair trade.

Friends of mine recently put up a French lacemaker who came to London to work for a world famous fashion house. She worked for three months for them - fourteen hour days and wasn't paid a penny. She's back this year doing the same work 'experience' for them. Three months, no money, 14-16 hour days. In London. My friends said she was skeletal and hollow eyed by the time she left. They put out food for her in the evenings but she was too exhausted to eat it.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 19:53:14

The whole tone of thread is preachy and profligate waste is wrong
Frankly i was skint I wouldn't send my kids into school in 2nd hand when I can buy five new vests for £2
This is essentially the choice those with disposable incomes can and do make

None of the companies I mentioned are on that list confused

Nor are they on the 'good list' either confused

PretzelTime Fri 22-Mar-13 19:53:50

Yes one reason why fast fashion stores are so popular is because well some people don't have that much money. I grew up wearing nothing but hand me downs and really cheap crappy clothing. I don't want a divide where you either have to be rich or only can afford crap clothing made by underpaid poor factory workers. I want ethical clothing for everyone!

MrsDeVere Fri 22-Mar-13 19:54:39

I would love to buy ethically.
The best I can do it to buy less.

Like SM says, supermarkets sell school uniform for a few quid. I remember the days when it cost £300 to kit out a child for a state primary. That is joggers and sweatshirts, not blazers and boaters.

Now I can kit out three of mine for a third of that for a whole year if I need to.

I am over my BUY BUY BUY at primark. I did do it at first. I stocked up on clothes in case I could never buy anymore hmm

The fact is, most people can not afford to buy ethical clothing. It is very expensive and its usually pretty grim.

I think most people would pick an ethical primark over a non ethical one even if it cost a few more pounds per item.

But its never a few more pounds IME. Its a lot more.

Even making your own clothes doesn't really help. The fabric industry is just as bad.

MrsDeVere Fri 22-Mar-13 19:56:19

Sorry to bang on about Primark but I think I would rather buy from a shop where the mark up was less.

I am pretty sure the expensive shops are just as crap but just make more money out of it.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 19:56:51

Ethical fashion always has that I cut my own hair and have verrucas look to it

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 22-Mar-13 19:58:00

My husband is so not into clothes at all but he still remembers being the kid at school in the 'jumble sale' clothes that were out of fashion and his awful national health specs.

So ultimately I think its good that now people on all budgets have more choice. But yes I'd rather that the owners of retail empires took a more ethical line and perhaps took a cut on their profits rather than exploiting children/workers but not sure that's going to happen anytime soon.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 19:58:14

Asda,primark,tesco kids school uniform and clothes are great.good price wash well too

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 22-Mar-13 19:59:14

I really think expensive shops are getting worse - there's an awful lot of cheap fabrics in the more expensive stores at the moment. Polyester blouses at £100 - someone is making a very big profit on those if they sell.

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