The fast fashion industry is going green. Over the past few weeks, Zara and Mango vowed to begin using greener materials in their clothing and H&M started a recycling initiative that allows shoppers to exchange used clothes for store discounts. These are very noble efforts BUT ... what about addressing design piracy and unethical labor? It seems that the recent push to go green is, to some degree, an attempt to overshadow the other wrongs that these mega-businesses commit on a daily basis. As I continually address, there is a reason fast fashion is cheap.
So, how is it that fast fashion retailers can charge $20 for trousers? Well, if the consumer is not paying a reasonable price for garments, someone else is paying for the difference, and it is usually laborers or designers. Fast fashion retailers are often able to sell products at such low prices because: 1) they do not have to employ/pay designers because a majority of their pieces are copies of the original designs of others; 2) they bypass important quality control and manufacturing safety standards because they are costly to implement and monitor (hence the toxic chemicals in clothes and the frequent employee hospitalizations); and 3) they do not pay their laborers adequate wages. So, while I applaud the efforts of Mango, Zara and H&M, please consider what is left to be done. Think about what issues these fast fashion retailers and others are not addressing.