Throwaway Fashion

21 02 2009

primarkThe Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a “Sustainable Clothing Action Plan” co-inciding with the London Fashion Week to highlight the increasing problem of “fast fashion”. Apparently, UK consumers buy around two tonnes of clothes every year, and throw away a massive 1.2 million tonnes of them every year.

Rapidly changing fashion trends means that many consumers have to keep on buying new clothes to keep their wardrobe up-to-date and to compete with their friends and peers. This means that new clothes are worn only a few times and as trends change, are then consigned to the bin.

Of the two million tonnes of clothing bought every year, only 300,000 are recycled. If the majority of the clothes are worn only a couple of times, surely more of them can be recycled. Due to the current economic crisis, donations to charities has dropped. Consumers are cutting back on their spending. If more clothes that are in a good condition are donated to the charity shops, they can then sell them on to consumers looking for a bargain which results in a win-win situation. The charity shops get their revenue, consumers can bag a bargain and there are less clothes ending up in the landfill site.

One of the reasons why consumers can afford to keep on buying new clothes and then throw them away is partly due to ready availability of cheap fashionable clothes on the high street. However, many fail to see the real story behind the cheap price tag. An investigation by BBC’s Panorama last year revealed how Primark’s suppliers used factories with unfair standards and also child labour to provide the consumers on the high street with cheap fashionable clothing.

Jane Milne, who is the business environment director of the British Retail Consortium, said that retailers should be “applauded, not criticised, for providing customers with affordable clothing, particularly during these tough economic times”. Sure, if the low prices are due to a better, more efficient production technique. But not if someone less unfortunate than us halfway across the world is subsidising the cost for us by being exploited and made to work in unfair conditions.

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Primark launches website to promote its ethical practices

27 06 2008


In a bid to improve its reputation and brand image, Primark has launched a website to promote its ethical practices. The Panorama programme, aired on the BBC, alleged that the garments sold by Primark were made in sweatshops employing child labour in India. Primarklater announced that it had terminated contracts with suppliers shown in the programme and is since trying to build up confidence amongst its customers. In a time where consumers are cutting their spending, the last thing that Primark needs is bad reputation.

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http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=61259&d=254&h=5&f=3

Ethical Primark: http://ethicalprimark.co.uk/

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Primark on the Rack-Link

24 06 2008

Here is the link to watch the show again on the BBC iPlayer.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/page/item/b00cf06z.shtml?src=ip_potpw





Primark: On the Rack-Panorama

23 06 2008

Panorama, on BBC One, have made a very good and compelling documentary showing the true cost of cheapfashion on the high street. Clothes which are sold for around a fiver are made by people who are paid a pittance. It takes an unbiased view on what causes or makes the suppliers to employ children. Is it because profit is their only aim or is it because consumers want cheap fashion. Panorama focuses only on Primark, but other fashion labels may be involved in the same thing. It raises serious moral and ethical questions. Well worth watching. 

A link to the programme will be provided as soon as it is put on the iPlayer.