Archive for the ‘Fast Fashion’ Category

Fast Fashion Frenzy Pushes Workers Into Starvation Conditions

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Taken from BBC3 documentary in 2008 'Blood, Sweat & Tshirts'

Taken from BBC3 documentary in 2008 'Blood, Sweat & Tshirts'

Third world factories – and their employees – are being overwhelmed by the demands of western fast fashion” – The Observer Aug 8th -  This article by Lucy Siegle is a depressing and well written reminder that our shopping choices in one part of the world accept that people in another part, work in conditions more suited to Charles Dickens time, than modern, civilized society. This article was in response to an Observer expose on the same date, relating to sweatshop conditions in factories producing for three major players on the highstreet. Read Full Article

Of course it is not every factory, every brand and every retailer, but it is very difficult to distinguish the good from the bad. The New York Magazine picked up on the article and asked their readers “What would you have to learn about the unsavory behind-the-scenes practices of your favorite fast-fashion chain in order to stop shopping there?” The article and discussion make for interesting reading. 

The New York Magazine turns the spotlight back on us as consumers,  saying that that a request for last minute design changes which may involve “aching fingers, few bathroom breaks, and definitely no snacks” would “not only render us incapable of moving buttons, but probably strike us dead in our desk chairs”. The magazine concludes its piece by saying “So long as consumers gobble up fast fashion, retailers will try to keep up the supply. The short of it: Terrible factory conditions are just as much the fault of as of shoppers, as of  lackadaisical inspectors and exploitative manufacturing giants.”

Lucy ends the article in the Guardian with a quote from a fashion buyer turned sustainable fashion consultant Claire Hamer – “The future is behind the label and the story behind it, not just the brands,” she insists. “The smart fashion brands are beginning to design and buy out of these issues. I envisage a world where, when someone says ‘I love your top,’ you won’t just say, ‘Thanks, it’s from Topshop’, you’ll take pride in knowing who made it. The value is not just in the brand, it’s in the people who made it.”

At belleetik with our tag line “Great Clothes Great Stories” – we hope this is the case. Not only will you look good, but you’ll feel great in luxe fabrics, knowing that your shopping choices can contribute to positive change.

Thankfully there is a growing movement for change.   Visit Re-Dress and Ethical Fashion Forum for links to people, information and online networks discussing some of the issues in the article.

Also check out the BBC documentary Blood, Sweat & Tshirts from 2008

As a wise man (in this case Buddah) once said “A jug Fills Drop By Drop”

Future of Fashion & High Street Happenings

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Future of Fashion – Good – True & Lasting

I was heartened a few days ago to hear Irish stylist & RTE Off the Rails  presenter, Sonya Lennon, say that fashion is moving beyond trends and the future is clothes that are “Good”, “True” & “Lasting” In a world gone mad, where our taxes are pumped into invisible holes, & various scandals keep catching up with us, it is any wonder that we need to seek out the good to restore some meaning.

This was certainly music to my ears and I’m sure to any of small shops & designers, who work hard to know exactly where their clothes are coming from and who is making them and in what conditions. Hopefully the high street and even more designers will follow suit and significantly expand their sustainable/ethical ranges. And ideally fall over themselves to prove to their customers that they are actively working with their producers & suppliers in poorer countries to improve their working conditions – Maybe that dream is just around the corner.

Happenings on the High Street since January 2010
Speaking of the high street, H&M launched their Garden Collection for Spring, which looks luscious and is made from organic and sustainable fabrics. They certainly took to the challenge of producing a fashionable & sustainable collection with gusto. On first viewing, every piece looks great and the fabrics feel lovely (and nicer than the other collections but I acknowledge my bias..)

In early March Tesco launched dresses from their Fred & Florance  collection. for which they cooperated with ethical brand “From Somewhere” .  The dresses are made from off cuts which would otherwise end up in the bin, and are made in a green factory in Sri Lanka.  The dresses are only available online and it was difficult enough to find the four dreses amongst the 1000 pieces that make up the F&F collection. The From Somewhere designer, Orsola de Castro, acknowledges that it is more of a marketing excercise at the moment The Guardian conclude that ” while sceptics may frown at the collaboration, Orsola argues that anything that gets ethical fashion into the mainstream can only help.”

Back to H&M, Re-dress posed an excellent question on their blog in relation to H&M’s collection “is the commitment of a high street store to sustainability enough to offset the crippling effects of fast fashion?  They also say they recently learned that in 2005 H&M handled 500 million garments in one year and estimate this figure has spiriled, as the demand for fast fashion increased.

While they are not high street yet People Tree’s collaberation with Harry Potter actress, Emma Watson, has propelled them to new fashion heights. The clothes are available on People Tree’s site and while aimed at teens they are really cool.

Fast Fashion – What Does it Mean – Some Links

To conclude - to read up on some of the effects of fast fashion & what it means for the people producing the clothes and for the environment, I have included some links to campaigning organisations, which offer an excellent grounding and insight:
Re-Dress  - Irish based organisation educating and campaigning for a sustainable fashion industry
Ethical Fashion Forum –  the UK based organisation educating and campaigning for a sustainable fashion industry
Labour Behind the Label – campaigns for the rights of the people who make our clothes
Clean Clothes Campaign – campaigns for the rights of the people who make our clothes

Why we are as guilty as the labels we support

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

“It’s no use pointing the finger unless we commit to supporting ethical clothing.”
Constance Harris Speaking Out On Why the Fashion Industry Needs to Embrace Ethical Fashion Read the Full Article.