UK Fast Fashion is Choking West Africa – Change is Long Overdue
Just as Fashion-Enter Ltd (FEL) gets listed as a proud member of the United Nations Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network, National newspaper, The Daily Mirror slams the fashion industry with an article titled: ‘UK fast fashion swamps Ghana’s capital’.
Published in the 27th July 2023, Nada Farhoud reports on the mountain of toxic waste fuelling an environmental catastrophe in Ghana. The culprit – fast fashion items, donated in the UK to charity shops or clothing banks that are too poor quality to re-sell being sent out to West Africa. Ghana, one of the main recipients of second-hand garments from the UK, is now at breaking point. The photographs accompanying the article are truly disgusting, showing mountains of textiles overflowing into rivers and beaches.
As a producer of textiles FEL has insisted that the old business model of ‘pile high sell cheap’ is long outdated and irresponsible. Lots of fast fashion retailers and brands are making lots of sustainable claims and announcements and yet here we are, with the reality of an industry that continues to choke the planet with waste and promote over-consumption. This hits hard as the daily news headlines with global warming stories and soaring temperatures suggest that we, collectively, need to act now.
Over a decade ago FEL advocated that manufacturing needed to get lean, on a made-to-order basis in local locations to ensure a minimal carbon footprint. Factories in the UK have the capacity to do this, along with the implementation of new technologies and on-site repurposing initiatives.
So why, in 2023, are retailers and brands still flying textiles and garments all around the world to be manufactured, to sell at ridiculously low prices and not taking any responsibility once that garment has been worn a few times?
FEL CEO Jenny Holloway commented: “What a complete disgrace the big guns of retail are! Chasing the lowest cent to the bottom of the glass. Constantly moving production from country to country with no loyalty whatsoever to their supply base – shame, shame, shame on you!
“We have offered one-piece-flow, print-to-order, made-to-order, customisation and absolute loyalty to our established accounts and for what?!
“The smaller brands that we now work with are so proactive and have a heart and soul that truly cares about sustainability without going through lip service.
“We shared a stand at Source Fashion with Style3D, this was a great move because agile smaller brands could see the absolute benefits here. The aim of working with Style3D, Kornit Digital, Zund Cutting and Galaxius (for traceability) is to provide the latest technical advancements in production and create quality garments with the minimum of environmental impact.
“Collaboration, innovation and a flexible business model is the only way forward for our sector and now is the time for retailers and brands to act rather than just talk.”
Intro image by Ron Lach at Pexels.com