31 Day Challenge Day 24
I’ve always hated the concept of ‘fast fashion’. I think it encourages waste and diminishes the value of a well designed and crafted garment. It leads people to believe that clothes should be cheap and that it’s ok to pay less than a tenner for a pair of jeans or £17.00 for a pair of boots. Now don’t get me wrong, like everyone I know, I like a bargain and have been that person in the pair of £17.00 boots but largely I prefer to buy fewer, less frequently and better quality pieces that will last. I think it was around 20 years ago when the fast fashion trend started to rear it’s ugly head that I first started to rant at my poor husband that clothes were becoming too cheap, there wasn’t enough being produced in the UK and there would be a price to pay.
Sadly it’s generally being paid by the low paid pieceworkers in places like Bangladesh and Vietnam who work in cramped conditions to produce the clothes that we in the West just can’t live without. Or so you would think.
Last night on Channel 4 the Dispatches program took another look at the garment industry here in the UK, a subject they first touched on back in the 1980’s. It showed an undercover reporter called Bilal working at factories in Leicester for companies producing garments for the likes of River Island, New Look and boohoo.com. (I’m not singling them out they were the companies named in the report). He was paid around £3.00 per hour despite the national living wage in this country being £7.20 for aged 25 and the clothes being produced included dresses and knitwear none of which retailed for more than £20.00. Whether it’s here or abroad it’s appalling that workers are being exploited in this way and I’m not even sure where I’m going with this rant. If we don’t already we can make better, more responsible and informed choices about where we buy our clothes and although some may argue that we would have to pay higher retail prices if companies were to pay their workers better wages I’d be prepared to do that.
As knitters we truly understand the value of the fibres with which we choose to knit and the time we invest in each row and stitch. It’s difficult however to convey that value to the Instagram generation who aspire to look and dress like their idols who are always dressed in the latest trends and, with thousands of social media followers, seem to have it all. I just hope that some of them take the time to watch last night’s program, and if you missed it, it’s well worth a watch here (the second part airs next Monday on Channel 4 at 8.00pm). As for me, having already resolved to ‘make’ more in 2017 I’m also going to buy less and more responsibly. Slow fashion suits me better
Sorry for the rant, see you tomorrow