Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Why Fast Fashion is a Feminist Issue


 Following on from Monday's post introducing the Fashion Revolution movement to my blog, I wanted to explain a huge aspect of why we need to speak up about fast fashion. If you consider yourself a feminist or egalitarian, it's imperative that you read up on fast fashion and its oppression of hard-working women around the planet.


 "Your 'feminist' tee was made by an underpaid n overworked woman in sub standard conditions in a developing country, yay girl power huh" - India Hannah Pixie (Trashed Vintage) via Twitter

 80% of workers in the garment industry are women, aged 18-35. Women with families and children. Their wages are often the sole household income, and on average support three people. Just try to imagine supporting three people, by yourself, while on minimum wage. Imagine working 150 hours of over time every month, for minimum wage. Imagine minimum wage was as low as £44 per month. This is the reality of the people who make our clothes.


 Not only do the women working in garment factories receive sub-standard payment, they also receive harassment and abuse from their employers. It is estimated that in the numerous developing countries where Western clothing is produced, millions are living in modern slavery. The governments of these countries do little to protect the human rights of their citizens, and the clothing companies being supplied distance themselves so far as to have no knowledge or data regarding working conditions and pay of the garment creators.

 If you need further convincing that we need to change our attitude towards fashion, remember Rana Plaza. On April 23rd 2013, concerns were raised over the structural safety of garment factories in the Rana Plaza building. Workers were evacuated, but after being pressured to return (threats of docking their much needed wages, and threats of losing their jobs), they were back to work on April 24th. The building collapsed and 1,138 people were killed. 2,500 were injured. This is the cost of fast fashion.


I am a feminist and always will be. Yes, there are good intentions behind buying a piece of clothing from Primark/H&M/insert-high-street-shop-here boasting empowering, feminist slogans. But they are honestly doing more harm to women than good.

How can we express feminism in fashion? Here are some alternatives:
  • Using an item of clothing you already own, paint or embroider a meaningful statement. This would look great on a denim jacket or an up-cycled t-shirt.
  • Buy a t-shirt made by a woman-led, ethical company. Check out Tolly Dolly Posh's Ethical Directory to find some.
  • If you already own a feminist slogan tee or other garment, take to social media and ask who made it. Tag the brand and demand transparency from them.

Later on during Fashion Revolution week, I'll be sharing the small ways I personally work towards a Fashion Revolution. For now, see my previous post for more information on how you can help, and also see the sources and further reading below.

Sources/Further Reading: 

*P.S. This post is not to undermine or devalue the millions of male workers within the garment industry, who are also subject to severely low pay and a disregard of human rights. I'm only hoping to show the connection between feminism and Fashion Revolution.

2 comments:

  1. This is something I've started to think about a lot recently, so thank you for including the list of ethical brands - it can be difficult to know where to start when you're used to the high street! xx

    Toasty

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    1. I'm so glad the post helped you! And I know exactly what you mean, it's taken me a while to transition away from the high street. Thanks for commenting :) x

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