Slides Framework

ETHICAL VS FAST FASHION

Before we get started...

What actually is ethical and fast fashion?

  • Globalisation was sold to us as a win-win for everyone. Consumers in the West would get access to cheap products, and workers in developing countries would be given an opportunity to climb out of poverty through growing jobs in local farms, factories and supply chains. One look at the fashion industry today and it’s clear to see something has gone drastically wrong. The neverending rise of fast fashion and the inevitable impact on workers, pay, exploitation and huge costs to the local and wider environments has helped to spawn a new industry - often described as ‘ethical’, ‘sustainable’

  • or ‘eco’ fashion - to help turn the tide and support local workers, communities and the environment. Producers of ethical fashion aim to pay workers a fair wage for a fair day's work in a clean, safe and dignified job. As well as considering the impact on local environment when farming, producing and shipping clothing. The majority of fast fashion production sees poorly paid workers in unsanitised and dangerous conditions with forced overtime, exploitation and abuse. There is also little consideration for the environment, with thousands of tons of wastewater dumped every week.

So before you decide to buy your next t-shirt, let’s take a look at how it arrived on the rail, and what the true cost of production really was...

FARMING

  • Farming: The Numbers

    A typical ‘fast fashion’ t-shirt will be produced using non-organic cotton, meaning it is treated with pesticides which can cause health problems for the many farmers who aren't provided with protective workwear.

Farming

Ethical vs Fast

  • ETHICAL

    Farmers on organic cotton farms are spared from health problems caused by chemicals typically used to grow cotton

  • ETHICAL

    Ethical t-shirts made with organic cotton will have significantly less traces of chemicals left on after production

  • ETHICAL

    T-shirts produced using ethical practices are much less damaging to the local environment and communities

Farming

Ethical vs Fast

  • FAST

    Cotton growers are exposed to toxic chemicals that are used during farming and production

  • FAST

    Chemicals used during production can be left on the t-shirt, which are associated with cancer, hormone defects and birth defects

  • FAST

    Fast fashion farming can have a significantly negative impact on the local and wider environments

A recent study showed that 61% of non-organic cotton pickers show direct health effects from pesticides during picking season.

ENVIRONMENT

  • Environment: The Numbers

    It's hard to believe, but the fashion industry is now the world’s second largest polluter, second only to the oil industry.

Environment

Ethical vs Fast

  • ETHICAL

    Wastewater is disposed of safely with the environment in mind

  • ETHICAL

    Ethical t-shirt production uses far fewer harmful chemicals

  • ETHICAL

    A percentage of the sale going back to improving the local environment

Environment

Ethical vs Fast

  • FAST

    Insecticides and pesticides destroying the local environment

  • FAST

    Traces of harmful chemicals left on our clothes

  • FAST

    Lakes and rivers drying up due to excessive cotton farming

The Aral Sea in Central Asia has shrunk to just 15% of its original volume due to the vast quantity of water required for cotton production and dying.

WORKERS PAY

  • Workers Pay: The Numbers

    The shockingly low rates of pay for garment workers remains one of the fashion industry’s biggest problems, and a big focus for ethical fashionistas.

Workers Pay

Ethical vs Fast

  • ETHICAL

    Workers paid a fair wage for a fair day's work

  • ETHICAL

    Daily pay in line with recommended living wage, or close to it

  • ETHICAL

    Overtime is voluntary and usually paid at an increased rate

Workers Pay

Ethical vs Fast

  • FAST

    Workers paid just $1 - $3 per day

  • FAST

    Most workers earning less than 25% of the recommended living wage

  • FAST

    Frequent overtime is not paid at an increased rate

If retailers charged just $1.35 extra for a $25 t-shirt, it would be enough to double the factory workers wages

WORKING CONDITIONS

  • Working Conditions: The Numbers

    Conditions for garment workers in developing countries are some of the worst in the world. In a recent study in Bangladesh, 75% of female workers reported verbally abused at work and half had been beaten

Working Conditions

Ethical vs Fast

  • ETHICAL

    Workers required to attend work for a maximum of 8 hours per day

  • ETHICAL

    Producing clothing in a clean and safe environment

  • ETHICAL

    Working towards achievable targets with employee wellbeing in mind

Working Conditions

Ethical vs Fast

  • FAST

    Workers under immense pressure to hit often unrealistic targets

  • FAST

    Working in dirty, unsafe and abusive circumstances

  • FAST

    Forced over time up to as late as 2am, from an 8am start.

Receipt of wages in the garment industry depends on meeting an assigned production target. A sewing operator’s salary starts at just £32 a month and a helper’s at a mere £25 a month.

So there you have it

The differences between ethical and fast fashion are vast, and have a hugely lasting impact on workers’ health, wealth, and wellbeing, as well as a significant impact on local communities and the environment.

With that in mind, the next time you fancy a fresh new t-shirt for the weekend, will you buy ethical or fast?

Produced by

Shirtworks has been working hard over the last 10 years to bring ethical T-shirts to the ‘volume’ print and embroidery market in the UK and Europe. We are one of only a very small handful of garment decorators in the World that holds the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) accreditation as well as Soil Association approval for the sale of organically farmed and produced cotton along with approved print and embroidery processes and materials.

Unfortunately it is not possible to survive as a business selling accredited garments only as the demand is still too low. Wherever possible, we encourage you to select from our ethical range but we do know that it is not always possible, usually for budget reasons so we also stock garments from credible and openly transparent factories who have high standards if not the full ethical audit and accreditation.

More information can be found here

These would be our recommendations for fully compliant brands; Stanley Stella, Fairshare, and Earth Positve

Check out our blog for more info