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Sustainability Is On The Rise, So Why Are Fast Fashion Companies Still Thriving?

by: Lucy Jones | 1 year ago | News

Paris Hilton's Boohoo collection. Image source.

Soap bar sales are rising and plastic bag pollution is dropping as more and more people seek out sustainable alternatives to polluting products. Studies have also shown that the majority of young people want to shop sustainably. So why are fast fashion companies still thriving?

Online fast fashion retailer Boohoo, which owns PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal, just announced that sales are up across all of its brands. In the last quarter of 2018, Boohoo's sales grew by 15%, Nasty Gal sales grew by a massive 74%, and PrettyLittleThing's sales grew by an even bigger 95%. These figures suggest that shoppers are not boycotting fast fashion as readily as they are boycotting plastic straws, bags and bottles. 

Last year, the fashion industry was scrutinised more than ever before. The UN announced a charter to clean up this polluting industry and the UK government launched an inquiry into the environmental impact of online fast fashion companies. Boohoo and Missguided were both asked to give evidence in parliament as part of this investigation.

During the proceedings, Boohoo CEO Carol Kane was asked how the company can sell dresses for £5 when the minimum wage is £7.83. Kane admitted that Boohoo sells these dresses at a loss to attract customers to their site. When asked if consumers have become used to cheap, disposable clothes, she said: "I believe this all comes back to consumer demand. I've been in the industry for 32 years, and in that time I've seen prices decline. 

The Independent's Katie Jones agrees that consumers have become accustomed to 'cheap' and convenient clothing.

"We may have banned straws, but fast fashion is still growing as an industry and we don't seem to care. How long can this continue?" she asks in her recent feature about the fast fashion industry.

"Fast fashion is deeply problematic: there are issues abound concerning garment workers’ rights and wages, water pollution, and landfill, to name a few. But while these problems are increasingly visible in the mainstream, it isn’t changing our habits fast enough." 

Studies have suggested that people aren't shopping sustainability because they simply can't find sustainable clothes. But, if you do a little digging (*cough* browse through our website *cough*), you'll find that the world is full of affordable sustainable clothing. These environmentally responsible clothes can (and should) replace destructive fast fashion alternatives so that, just like plastic straws, they can eventually become a thing of the past. 

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