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.

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.”

PrettyLittleThing advert: four models wearing clothes from the brand, selling them prices for as low as 8p, 5p and 4p
[Image Description: PrettyLittleThing advert: four models wearing clothes from the brand, selling them prices for as low as 8p, 5p and 4p]
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.

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.

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:

The dark truth behind polyester clothing and why you shouldn’t buy it

Diet Prada: the fashion watchdogs that changed how I view the industry

Here’s why reusing Oscar dresses won’t make much of an impact on sustainable fashion

The fashion industry cannot claim sustainability if they keep mistreating their employees.

 

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  • Rebecca Azad

    Rebecca Azad works in the creative and charity sector in project and event management, communications and as a content writer. She runs her own sustainable fashion blog. You'll usually find her in a cosy corner of a coffee shop sipping a latte whilst reading a novel or writing a new article for her blog or publication.


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