If you love fashion you can’t afford NOT to read this!
I think my “Friend” team colleagues would agree that I’m not much of a fashion victim! But though I don’t slavishly follow trends, I do enjoy buying and wearing new clothes from time to time.
To my shame, I have never given much thought to the wider implications of indulging in a spot of retail therapy. But recently, I watched a jaw-dropping documentary on BBC TV. Presented by the fabulous Stacey Dooley (who is currently a contestant on “Strictly Come Dancing”), it exposed “fashion’s dirty secret”. In other words, the massive impact the global fashion industry is having on our planet.
I didn’t set out to watch this programme. The TV was on in the background when it came on. But I was mesmerised from the start. And horrified, too.
Did you know that the fashion industry is reported to be the second biggest polluting industry in the world? No, me neither. Only oil does more damage to the environment, apparently. Our insatiable appetite for new, ever-cheaper clothes is literally costing the earth.
As I watched the images of the dust bowl in Kazakhstan that was once the beautiful Aral Sea, I was appalled. The water was diverted for use in the cotton industry, destroying people’s livelihoods as well as drastically affecting the weather and climate. Then Stacey travelled to Indonesia, where textile factories are claimed to be churning pollution out into the Citarum River. The local people there use the river’s water for cooking, cleaning and washing, because they have no choice.
But we as consumers DO have a choice. We can choose not to buy clothing from manufacturers who allow such practices to happen. And we can be far less wasteful in our habits.
The programme certainly acted as a wake-up call for me. Of course I will still buy new clothes. But I am going to try hard in future to buy only what I need, not what just catches my eye. And I will pay much more attention to how my clothes are produced.