It’s shocking to think that the value of unused clothing in wardrobes is estimated at £30 billion and a further £140 million pounds worth of clothing is sent to landfill each year.1
Individuals in the U.K. buy more clothes than any other country in Europe each year with the fashion industry fuelling this need for a throwaway, fast fashion culture as garments are sold at low prices and are very often made using low quality materials.
Although we buy more clothes than we used to, less money is spent and this desire to wear cheap new looks on a continual basis has led to harsh manufacturing practices and conditions for workers who make our clothes.2
In 2019, the U.K. government responded to concerns of fast fashion’s environmental impact and the wider impact on workers lives and health.
Several online retailers were called to Parliament so that a full environmental audit could be completed to explore the issues in-depth and to look at how clothes are made.3
The chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Mary Creagh quotes, ‘Low-quality £5 dresses aimed at young people are said to be made by workers on illegally low wages and are discarded almost instantly, causing mountains of non-recycled waste to pile up.’4
All retailers who were invited to parliament noted that further transparency was needed between customers and businesses on their own sustainable practices whilst also discussed the need for increasing education on how customers can wear items multiple times to combat this throwaway, fast-fashion culture.5
Customers, retailers, brands, policy makers and leaders all have a significant role to play in eradicating unethical practices. They must all work together to consider the negative impact that fashion has on the environment.
How can the impact of fast-fashion be minimised and how can the lifecycle of our clothes be extended? Customers should consider what we buy and who we buy from. The Fashion Revolution campaign helps us to do that.
This year, Fashion Revolution Week is taking place between the 19th-25th April, 2021. The aim of the Fashion Revolution is to bring everyone together so that we can work towards changing the way clothes are made, sourced, produced and consumed. In order for this to happen, it takes a collective effort that won’t just happen overnight.
Although Fashion Revolution is an ongoing, all-year round movement, Fashion Revolution Week becomes a focus week that presents an opportunity for brands to be transparent about their supply chain, ethical practices and to think about how they could contribute to a more sustainable fashion future.
For customers, it presents an opportunity to ask #whomademyclothes and to empower individuals to realise they could make a lasting positive difference by making a few small changes.
Small changes that individuals can make to make the fashion industry more sustainable include:
Support Fashion Revolution Week by taking the time to think about where your clothes come from and what you can do to extend the lifecycle of them!
Here at Kitenge, our ethos that we preach is to buy less, choose well and make it last thus supporting the ‘slow fashion’ movement.
All our African print clothing is made from 100% locally grown, African cotton and each purchase you make with Kitenge helps to empower Tanzanian tailors and support the African textile industry. We even recycle all our offcuts and make accessories such as bow ties and hair scrunchies.
Our made to measure garments are lovingly made to order and we hold limited ready-to-wear stock which reduces waste. We believe made to measure clothing is the future of a sustainable fashion industry. Clothes that are handcrafted by expert tailors to fit perfectly using high quality materials will last for years to come.
During Fashion Revolution Week, why not take a look at the bright and colourful range of African clothing from Kitenge and know that when you make a purchase it will be an ethical one!
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