Image urging sustainability in fashion

Fast Fashion Has Had Its Day

Judie Cutting
Founder & Creative Director 

Is there a change coming? 

Just as with the fightback against single-use plastic, palm oil and climate change, fast fashion is also on the brink of a backlash.  When you think that the fast fashion industry contributes more to climate change than air and sea travel combined, (shockingly - yes), then it really is no wonder that we are all talking about it and rightly so.

Just this week, London Fashion Week has had no end of disruption with Extinction Rebellion “swarming” Victoria Beckham’s runway show and holding multiple protests and demonstrations. But should the scrutiny not be focused on the whole industry, including consumer attitudes rather than just target single retailers?

What is Fast Fashion?

There is a lot of media coverage currently on this subject but fast fashion can be defined as cheap, on-trend clothing sampled from the catwalk and, or celebrity culture, that is then mass produced. This gets cheap garments into the high street stores and online retailers at breakneck speed.

Fast Fashion Facts

  • Brits only wear 39% of the clothes they own
  • In 2015 greenhouse gases from textile production globally totalled 1.2 billion  tonnes of CO2 – more than the emissions of all international flights and shipping combined
  • The UK buys more clothes than any other European country, and £140 million worth goes into landfill or is incinerated

Working in fashion with our finger firmly on the pulse, we feel that the focus should be more on investment pieces - buying less but buying better. Chasing trends is exhausting, so at Guinea we focus on clothes which are not only beautifully made, but which are also made from sustainable high-quality fabrics.  Classic, timeless styles mean our designs are made to last. With this approach you can concentrate on your own style and what suits you, to build a capsule wardrobe of quality investment pieces where the better fit will make you feel happier and confident.

By building a capsule wardrobe of key investment pieces, and only accessorising or updating every so often, we can all be far more aware of what we own. You can ensure that everything gets worn, and additional unneeded items are not bought just to be forgotten about or discarded. Guinea London is very much about slow fashion. Yes, ethical fashion is more expensive, but the time and processes involved in each garment we create, from the design, through to going to market is lengthy. Here at Guinea our design process is stringent and time consuming to ensure that the final product has a beautiful fit and feel.  All the fabrics we use are of the highest quality, plus we make a point of visiting the all couturiers that make our products.

Investment Pieces

Do you have a labelled unworn item in your wardrobe, a top you never returned? While many of us have these lurking in our drawers, the focus needs to be on that key go-to piece that you always go back to - because its quality is unparalleled, and its classic design means it rises above trends.

The Future

Consumers are not only super savvy these days but quite rightly they are far more interested than before in knowing exactly where their clothes are coming from and who is making them. Things really need to change, and thankfully they are. There are now trainer cleaning services on Carnaby street, mend services in the flagship H&M store.  Gucci has stated that by the end of September it will be carbon neutral in its processes and operations – the mood is definitely changing.

Labour MP Mary Creagh, who is Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee is a big voice on the subject of fast fashion.  Recently, she highlighted the worrying fact that UK charity shops cannot even sell the fast fashion rejects we donate, and all because they are such poor quality and the cheap synthetic material can’t be re-purposed.  In The Daily Telegraph back in November, she said, “charity shops can’t be the dumping ground for the high street’s dirty little secret”.

We all have a part to play because fast fashion is not only bad for us and our wallets, it’s bad for the planet. If a new top costs you £4, then ask yourself this…’how much was the person paid that made it?’ - A top shouldn’t cost the same as your morning macchiato!

It is down to us to be responsible consumers. In the words of the wonderful Dame Vivienne Westwood, "Buy less but buy better".