People love to feel like they are doing something noble for the greater good while in reality they are accomplishing the bare minimum. This is usually done through “performative activism”, the idea that pretending to do something is better than doing nothing.
Sustainable fashion has become a recent example of this trend. Thrift has gone from a simple way to save money to a status symbol for activism. As more and more people are learning how harmful clothing production can be, there are serious communication problems on how to solve the problem.
Last October, a group of demonstrators interrupted a Louis Vuitton show walking along the catwalk with the models, in particular a woman who jumped onto the catwalk holding a sign that said “SUPERCONSUMO = EXTINCTION”. It’s fair to say that high-end fashion brands contribute to a long-standing problem in class-based consumption. They dictate fashion trends in all spheres, but they are not within the reach of many. However, fighting high-end fashion companies like Chanel and Versace isn’t the way to slow fashion’s environmental impact.
People have taller expectations for luxury brands than they do for fast fashion. Due to the public image and higher standards to which their companies are held, luxury brands tend to be more conscientious about their impact on the environment, as well as on society.
However, fast fashion brands like Zara and Forever 21, which use mass production to create products, it is the companies that should receive criticism for their environmental impact. Ecommerce brands like Shein and Fashion Nova are in the same boat and should also be considered when it comes to holding brands accountable for their manufacturing processes.
Fast fashion has gained popularity due to the cheap prices of their products and the wide range of options they offer. These companies promote themselves heavily on social media platforms as well, making them even more noticeable and enticing. Their presence on social media, being the most talked about brands on TikTok and YouTube––brings consumers to these fast fashion retailers, making them i most visited fashion and apparel sites around the world, according to the Similarweb web analytics platform.
When asking for sustainable fashion, we must take into consideration that it is the clothes we are most likely to consume that contribute significantly to the problem.
Reuters reported that Shein has yet to disclose information on the working conditions of its factory employees to the UK government, which the retailer is required to do under UK law. Shein had also previously falsely claimed that her factories were certified by international labor standards bodies, according to Reuters. However, because it has become such an influential company, it is easy to get blown away.
Protesting against fast fashion means discussing the levels of class and interconnectedness. After all, those living on a regular paycheck benefit from a clothing outlet where there are many different options every few weeks. This gives people the financial power to replace clothes as soon as they are purchased. Instead of waiting for a shirt to be too small or old, stores like H&M make it easy to buy a new garment instead of replacing an old one.
If we want to create tangible change, we need to do it in a way that benefits those who consume fast and cheap clothes. This mainly starts with brands aimed at women, such as Shein, seen as more than 70 percent of the poorest people in the world they are women.
The good news is that there is a growing general awareness that the fashion industry needs to change for the betterment of the environment and human rights. However, there is more to it than buying a second-hand item.
With the increase of thrift, Two problems have arisen. The first is that thrift stores like Goodwill have raised their prices, making it harder for low-income people to afford clothes from stores they could rely on for cheap style options, which can lead to a rise. of purchases from Shein or Fashion Nova as an alternative. Secondly, more people are donating their clothes and often these clothes are not sold and thrown away.
The real solution, and much more inconvenient, is to work with politicians to create laws that make fashion companies accountable, however this is necessary. Emphasizing the impact of companies on climate change and humanitarian rights are ways to have a major impact on the fashion industry.