Tackling the Throwaway Fast Fashion Trend

Most recently the government has been urged to fix throwaway “fast fashion” by supporting the development of fabrics with lower environmental impact and boosting clothing recycling facilities. After Covid-19 exposed major faults it has become apparent the industry needs to follow a more sustainable route to survive.

The pandemic has altered consumer attitudes towards the industry and the public are calling for a change. Supply chains have broken, sales have dropped, unsold stock has built up, retail outlets have closed, and companies have gone out of business.

With 65% of the UK’s residents wanting a change the government is to invest more research and development into creating more sustainable fabrics that have a lower environmental and social impact as well as boost the UK’s recycling facilities. There is to eventually be a review of the VAT rules which unfortunately currently make it more cost-effective for companies to destroy unwanted clothing than to give it away/donate it.

Even before the pandemic, the impact of the industry was under public scrutiny, with fast fashion resulting in £140m worth of clothing being sent to landfill every year in the UK. Despite the high rise in charity shop donations, a shocking 300,000 tonnes worth of clothing ends up in household bins every year of which 20% goes to landfill and 80% is incinerated.

Figures show clothing sales plummeted by 34% last March alone and since then has taken down major high street brands such Aldo, Cath Kidston, Debenhams, Laura Ashley, Monsoon Accessorize, Oasis, Quiz and Victoria’s Secret all of which have fallen into administration.

Manufacturers have been urged to “reassess and rebuild” their strategies. Brands such as Mulberry have been highly praised for adapting their supply chain in which they managed to produce 8,000 hospital gowns for the NHS hospital staff.