Friday 17 September 2021

5 Quick Ways To Learn About Fast Fashion When You Don't Have Much Time

The fashion industry is complex, often a bit murky and it can be difficult to figure out exactly what’s what. Many of us also don’t have the time to learn loads about the industry because it’s so complex and there’s so much information out there. I know I didn’t get the level of knowledge I have now until the pandemic, finishing my second year of uni and furlough combined so that I had literally all the time in the world to research this topic that I had previously only really dabbled in outside of changing up my own shopping habits. Time is a massive privilege, and one that doesn’t get talked about much. But never fear! This post aims to help you find ways to learn about the fashion industry in smaller doses. They’re things that you can do little but often so that eventually you’ll be able to answer the question ‘what’s so bad about fast fashion?’ with informed confidence. I hope these are useful and remember to check out my other blog posts for more quick bits of information on this overwhelming issue. 

1. Follow activists and organisations on social media

Social media may be complicated but is useful in some respects. As an issue not frequently covered by mainstream media, you often have to go out of your way to look for updates on the fashion industry. By following NGOs, trade unions, and reliable individuals (campaigners, Remake ambassadors, etc.), you can have that information almost handed to you. I know I’ve learned so much about the fashion industry through posts on social media which have then prompted me to learn elsewhere. Social media has a huge role in ethical and sustainable fashion activism, especially since the pandemic. We now have direct access to contact brands and talk directly with other customers of those brands. This is only exemplified by the successes of the #PayUp campaign which was conducted completely virtually and the pressure it put on brands resulting in the recovery of over $22 billion worth of garment workers’ wages previously withheld at the beginning of the pandemic. 


Some of the accounts I’ve learned most from are Remake, Aja Barber, Venetia La Manna, Zainab Mahmood, Clean Clothes Campaign, Labour Behind the Label, Awaj Foundation, and Nothing to Hide (and you can follow me while you’re at it!). Of course there are many more but these are ones you should be following if you want to learn about labour rights and environmental issues in the fashion industry! 


Social media is limited though. It’s a starting point, and that’s how I think it should be treated for social issues. Make sure you’re also looking elsewhere and having nuanced conversations that just aren’t able to occur in social media spaces. 

2. Listen to podcast

There are lots of amazing podcasts out there discussing what’s wrong about the fashion industry and the people who are trying to make it better. From Remember Who Made Them to Common Threads and the Fashion Fix, there’ll be a fashion podcast out there to suit you! I love listening to podcasts while I’m running, while doing housework, while cooking, and just generally whenever I have any time when I could be listening to something, I’ll probably be listening to a podcast. They’re a great way to learn new things while on the go!

3. Listen to audiobooks

Like podcasts but in longer form! As you can maybe tell by the title of my blog, I love books and love to recommend books. There are several incredible books by experts in the ethical fashion field, from Loved Clothes Last by Orsola de Castro, founder of Fashion Revolution, to Stitched Up by Tansy Hoskins, and more recently Consumed by the always incredible Aja Barber which is out very soon (I cannot wait for my copy to arrive!), you have a wealth of books to choose from. While physical books needed dedicated time and attention, you can listen to audiobooks on your commute, while doing the washing up, or even on a pop to the shops, audiobooks are a great way of reading more and therefore learning more. It’s a win-win really. 

4. Sign up to informative newsletters

Unsubscribe from the emails you may receive from fast fashion brands and replace those with the newsletters of small slow fashion brands doing good things, of campaigners, journalists, and organisations working to make the industry a better place. Like on social media, once you’ve subscribed this information will just be handed to you. Some newsletters I recommend include ones by Remake, Besma Whayeb, and Mel Watt. I would particularly recommend Aja Barber’s newsletter and her Patreon articles and updates. She’s someone myself and loads of other people learn a whole lot from and she never misses a beat. 

5. Watch short documentary films

Documentaries are so impactful. They shorten the distance between the consumer and the maker of clothes and have the potential to reveal so much to us. Perhaps the most famous fashion documentary is The True Cost, but since it was taken off Netflix it’s difficult to find for free so may be inaccessible for a lot of people. If you can afford it though, I would highly recommend you pay for a DVD or a download as it is a game-changer. 


There are many others available for free and which are quite short but still filled with a lot of information and emotion. 


Of course I will never not mention Remake! Remake have many incredible films on these issues within the fashion supply chain that highlight and uplift the voices of garment workers. I would particularly recommend the ‘Made in’ Series in addition to some of the recordings of Remake’s monthly Community Calls, where we hear from experts in the industry, union leaders, academics, updates on Remake campaigns, and sometimes from garment workers themselves. The episodes of the ‘Made in’ series are super short (some are literally two minutes long, I think the longest is about 10 or 15 minutes) so are really easily slotted into a busy day. You could watch one on a tea break!

Mikaela Loach also has a new three-part documentary series on the fashion industry called ReDress the Future. I haven't watched this yet but it looks incredible and each episode is only 15 minutes long so definitely check that one out too.


For more documentaries, check out the list included in my Fast Fashion 101 Resource Doc.

If you like my work and have learned something from it, please consider helping support me (so I have more time to write posts and articles like these!) by buying me a virtual cuppa

If you liked this post you might like: What To Do With Your Old Clothes

No comments

Post a Comment