On Monday, the hashtag #IQuitFastFashionBecause began trending on Twitter in the UK with users sharing their insights on what spurred them on to quit fast fashion. Aja Barber, writer, fashion consultant, and sustainable fashion activist launched the campaign post-Black Friday to address the misinformation surrounding who fast fashion hurts in the end – it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the system ultimately harms marginalized people and our environment.
On Monday I’m going to continue to share all the reasons I started saying “no” to fast fashion. It’s very clear to me that there’s a bunch of misinformation about who fast fashion ultimately harms in the end. Anyway please join me if you’re up for it. #IQuitFastFashionBecause
— Aja Barber (@AjaSaysHello) November 29, 2020
Clothing is among the most sold products on Black Friday alone, with brands pushing consumers to buy more and more clothing they don’t actually need. Brands instigate a fear of missing out culture when it comes to marketing attractive discounts, leading shoppers to buy clothes impulsively that are unlikely to be worn frequently. It’s estimated that a shocking £30 billion worth of clothes that have never been worn are hanging in wardrobes across the UK and more than two tonnes of clothing are bought each minute in the UK – and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The whole system thrives off consumer’s impulse buying, wearing it once to look good on social media, not giving the garment another thought, but only to leave a yearning to buy more clothing to experience the same thrill. This is the buying practice fast fashion has created. Legislation needs to be in place to hold these brands accountable for overproduction, which leads to product devaluation in a system that puts profit above people and planet. As legislation isn’t there, the practice has continued to grow.
And it only gets worse. Fast fashion brand Pretty Little Thing reduced their clothes by 99% on Black Friday, slashing the prices of their clothes to as little as 4p – that’s right, 4p! As anti-fast fashion campaigner Venetia La Manna states, “When a 95% polyester dress costs 8p, two things are for sure: garment workers are earning peanuts and our dying planet doesn’t have a fighting chance.”
Those that tweeted #IQuitFastFashionBecause had clearly had enough of the system, the exploitation of garment workers, and how brands are heavily contributing to the climate crisis. The hashtag also brought attention to how the industry rips off the designs created by black designers, how countries dealing with our fast fashion waste belong to Black and Brown people in the global South and how ‘savings’ from fast fashion brands are just an illusion.
#IQuitFastFashionBecause because I’m tired of fast fashion makers ripping off Black designers, styles, culture while money flows upwards into white hands. It’s a system that’s largely exploitative of Black folks while never actually welcoming us in and taking our money.
— Aja Barber (@AjaSaysHello) November 30, 2020
#IQuitFastFashionBecause because the majority of garment makers are POC (and women). And the countries which deal with our fast fashion waste belong to Black and Brown people in global South. Additionally landfills are placed closest to poor and BIPOC neighborhoods.
— Aja Barber (@AjaSaysHello) November 30, 2020
#IQuitFastFashionBecause I realised the ‘savings’ from cheap fashion were just an illusion. Endless sales, seasons & cheap materials meant that in the end it was a waste of money
— Cass Hebron (@Casstaways) November 30, 2020
Aja’s campaign generated a huge response from the Twitter community – and it’s still going strong today with users contributing their motivations for quitting fast fashion.
I also participated in sharing my reasons for quitting and I found it quite a liberating experience. I made my feelings clear – it was a more recent transition for me during the pandemic where I reevaluated my shopping habits and faced up to the fact that as a consumer, I am part of the problem. What struck a chord with me personally was how garment workers in my native Bangladesh are struggling day-to-day as they’re being left unpaid for work they have completed, as brands exploit a loophole that has led them to refuse to pay for orders placed before the pandemic.
#IQuitFastFashionBecause I can’t bear the thought of buying clothes from brands that willingly exploit garment workers
— Rebecca (@rebeccaazad) November 30, 2020
This was an enlightening discussion, and I found personally I gained a lot of knowledge from reading tweets on the topic of fast fashion. If you’re new to learning about sustainable and ethical fashion or you’re at the start of your journey, take this as an opportunity to explore the hashtag. You can also check out our articles on the following topics centered around sustainability and the fashion industry:
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