It’s Fairtrade Fortnight and today we’re bringing you a guest blog written by Mishma Abraham who is a member of the Green Mary Students Group. Mishma and the Green Mary students teamed up with the Fashion Society last Friday to bring you a screening of ‘The True Cost’, a documentary about fast fashion. Here’s what Mishma has to say about the controversial subject!
You’re probably most aware about Fairtrade products when it comes to food sources such as coffee and bananas. Ever heard of Fairtrade fashion? With approximately 80 billion items of clothing created and purchased globally every year, the fashion industry is the second most waste producing industry after fossil fuels. And over 1 million tonnes of such clothing goes into landfill sites every year in the UK alone. In recognition of this, the Green Mary student group hosted a film screening of the documentary The True Cost which highlights the lives of workers exploited by the fast fashion industry as part of the Fairtrade Fortnight. It also showcased various problems faced across manufacturing countries around the world with global experts such as Vandana Shiva, Stella McCartney and Livia Firth.
The increase in the amount of cheap clothing that we see across retail stores comes at a cost – the cost of workers’ rights and environmental problems in manufacturing countries. For example, a clothing factory in Rana Plaza, Bangladesh collapsed in 2013 resulting in the death of over 1000 workers. The worst part being that the workers had been complaining to the authorities about the poor condition of the building, yet the authorities failed to respond. It’s not just the process of manufacturing but even the raw material used that may be produced unethically. For instance, cotton is the most used fibre in cloth production and it has been suggested that one cotton t-shirt may be a result of at least 500 grams of pesticides. Such intensive use of pesticides not only has environmental impacts through groundwater contamination and soil degradation but also affects human health through skin diseases and chronic illnesses.
It’s not all sad stories though, as the documentary closes with new beginnings of sustainable fashion such as People Tree and Pachacuti who are part of the World Fair Trade Organisation – a global chain of companies that support ethical and sustainable manufacture of their products.
I hope this blog has made you think twice about going shopping this weekend! Remember you can still shop, but try think ethically by choosing stores who support fair fashion! 🙂
For more information on sustainable fashion visit:
Well that’s all from us for this Fairtrade Fortnight! A big thank you to everyone who participated by educating, celebrating and raising money for the Fairtrade Foundation over the past two weeks. Remember there are still two days of Fairtrade Fortnight left so why not treat yourself to some Fairtrade goodies over the weekend and support the cause!