Now, some UK brands are being investigated over claims about the sustainability of their fashion lines.
What can you do to reduce your wardrobe’s impact on the planet?
What is fast fashion?
The term describes the quick turnover of fashion trends and the move towards cheap, mass-produced clothing – with new lines constantly released.
Wardrobes are “overflowing with clothes”, argues fast fashion campaigner Elizabeth Cline. Oxfam research suggests the average Briton has 57 unworn items.
What’s the environmental impact of fast fashion?
Producing clothes uses a lot of natural resources and creates greenhouse gas emissions which are responsible for climate change.
Overall, the fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of global emissions, according to the UN – more than the aviation and shipping combined.
And global clothes sales could increase by up to 65% by 2030, the World Bank suggests.
Most of fashion’s environmental impact comes from the use of raw materials:
The industry also uses a lot of water.
Who buys fast fashion?
UK shoppers buy more clothes per person than those in any other country in Europe, according to MPs.
Young people top that list. A recent survey by environmental charity Hubbub found that more than two-fifths of 16 to 24-year-olds buy clothes online at least once a week, compared to 13% on average for other age groups.