Black Friday has become the most popular shopping event of the year. With an estimated £8.4 billion spent and virtually every shop hosting some sort of sale, you would have had to have been under a rock to miss it. While Black Friday is a chance for many of us to grab a bargain, it also highlights just how dominating the fast fashion industry is.
This Black Friday saw record level sales by fast fashion giants such as Pretty Little Thing and Boohoo. Pretty Little Thing in particular had items discounted by up to 99% meaning some items of clothing were going for as little as 4p. Needless to say, these bargains were snatched up almost instantly. However, while some people took to social media to boast about buying 10 clothing items for £4, others took to expressing outrage.
It is evident, now more than ever before, that fast fashion brands do not care for the rights and wages of the workers who make their garments. As you can imagine, if these brands can afford to sell things for pennies, that’s probably how much they paid to have them made. This is extremely damaging as workers are evidently being mistreated. On top of this, sales like this one fuel fast fashion further by making clothing items seem disposable. Most people would not care if they didn’t get to wear an item/threw it away after one use if it only cost pennies. This is a very damaging mindset to have as making clothing requires a lot of resources. By buying into sales like this, people are encouraging fast fashion brands to carry on with their practices. Until the demand for fast fashion reduces, workers worldwide will continue to get exploited.
Until the demand for fast fashion reduces, workers worldwide will continue to get exploited
With many people in the UK living below the poverty line, it is unfair to say that no one should be buying cheap clothes in sales such as those seen this Black Friday. Some people simply cannot afford brand new and expensive clothing, and in this case, Black Friday is a great opportunity to get some bargains. However, I can guarantee that most people who shopped in the Pretty Little Thing sale did not do so out of insufficient funds to buy full price items, they did it out of greed. For a lot of people, shopping for clothes, especially on Black Friday, is not out of need and rather out of want. Many people love a bargain too much to care about how their item was made or where it has come from.
It is hard to reduce the demand for fast fashion when so many millions of people love it. With some Primark’s opening for 24 hours a day before Christmas, it is clear that the UK population on the whole, loves cheap clothes. I think that the change must come from individuals. If people understood the impact fast fashion has on workers, as well as the planet, they would be less inclined to shop from fast fashion businesses. Obviously not everybody will care about the impact of fast fashion, but it is worth spreading more awareness around the topic.
If people understood the impact fast fashion has on workers, as well as the planet, they would be less inclined to shop from fast fashion businesses
There are also many alternatives to fast fashion which should be emphasised. The obvious one is slow fashion, however this is a lot more expensive upfront so does scare people off. The idea behind it is that clothes are made with fair working conditions in mind and they are of high quality so should last much longer than the cheap fast fashion equivalents. Other options include shopping in charity shops or having clothes swaps with friends.
To summarise, I think that the recent Black Friday sales have highlighted just how bad the fast fashion industry is. In my opinion, there should have been even more outrage than was expressed as it is absolutely ridiculous to be selling items for under a pound, let alone for 4p. Until people are educated about how damaging this is, fast fashion giants will flourish.