Fast fashion is in style, but are cute, cheap clothes worth the human and environmental cost?
The fad of ethical consumerism is encouraging more and more shoppers to demand greater transparency from their favorite fashion brands — and companies are taking the cues. Yet while fast fashion behemoths like H&M and Zara say they’re listening, how far have these retailers actually progressed?
This year, H&M was honored as the World’s Most Ethical Company for the third year in a row. Yet the self-proclaimed ethical alternative in fast fashion was simply awarded for its outstanding corporate ethics, despite the cheap clothing giant still having a high human cost.
A Clean Clothes Campaign report revealed the high street clothes chain is overwhelmingly behind in advancing worker safety conditions.
In the wake of the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013, H&M signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. Yet the company has failed to meet the deadlines for mandatory repairs and the majority of required renovations still haven’t been completed. The company prides itself as the ethical solution, declaring a strong commitment to sustainability and humane labor practices, but it appears their grand statements are merely for publicity.
So if today’s most popular fashion brands just don’t cut it ethically, where can you shop as a conscious consumer —without breaking the bank?
A host of fair trade and sustainable clothing alternatives exist, but remain overlooked in favor of mass-produced fashion instead.
But if you truly want to reduce your carbon footprint and consumption habits, trendy resale stores like Crossroads (and of course, Goodwill) are the ideal places to shop.