Remake recently released its 2022 Fashion Accountability Report, and since I consider myself a fashion-conscious customer - I wanted to gain insight into the environmental impact of big-brand retailers.
The report outlines the major areas where the fashion industry falls short in sustainability and ethical behaviour, as well as providing a thorough overview of the sector.
The study investigates the fashion industry's murkier side, looking at how it affects the environment, workers, and animals.
It calls out online retailers like SHEIN, who are notoriously renowned as unethical - but display shameless greenwashing on their website, claiming to be sustainable but showing zero transparency on their environmental "efforts."
Here's my opinion on the report - highlighting a stark reminder that we as consumers, companies, and stakeholders - need to do more to hold retailers accountable for their sustainability impact.
🌎 The Environmental Impact
The extent of the fashion industry's harmful effects on the environment is one of the report's most startling findings.
What hits home the most about this is how we are all responsible for this impact unless we start using our voices and helping drive change in the fashion industry.
The more educated we are about the fashion industries impact on the environment, the more we can develop better consumption habits and leave unethical brands with no choice but to apply more sustainable practices and align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Without pressure from consumers - retailers will continue to take no accountability for their adverse impact on the environment.
🙅🏼♀️ A Humanitarian Crisis
The activities of the fashion business impact more than just the environment.
It serves as a depressing reminder that many people who make the items we wear are not compensated fairly or afforded a safe working environment.
As buyers, we must consider the human costs of purchasing items from unethical brands.
Doing our research on the retailers we buy from and calling them out when they don't apply ethical practises is crucial for the evolution of the fashion industry.
We must support companies that are completely transparent with their sustainability efforts and provide their workers with fair working conditions.
🐑 Animal Welfare
It's no secret that the fashion industry glamorises products derived from animals.
The report highlights the use of animal products in the fashion industry and their cruel impact on animals. Not only is fur a problem, but so are many other materials like leather and wool frequently used in apparel.
The paper draws attention to the contentious and painful practice of mulesing, employed in the wool industry to keep sheep from contracting flystrike.
Many instances of this are ineffective and can cause sheep to inadvertently contract flystrike from their open wounds.
We are obligated as consumers to consider the harmful and unethical production lines that big companies follow to produce the clothes we buy.
If we don't do it, who will?
🧐 Recognising Our Power as Consumers
Our pre-defeated attitude is one of the biggest deterrents to taking a stand for sustainability.
How can I, little old me, make any difference against these large corporations?
As with any revolution, crusade, or movement - change requires a collaborative effort.
🔎 Transparency is key.
✅ Share the facts.
📈 Share the figures.
And share the cold 👏 hard 👏 truths 👏that no one wants to hear.
Be bold and relentless. Join groups with like-minded communities, protest, and make your voice heard.
The accountability report contends that we can influence change by exerting our power as customers.
We can demonstrate to the market that these concerns are important to us by purchasing from companies that prioritise sustainable and ethical business practices, and boycotting those who don't.
By contacting companies directly to inquire about their policies or by signing petitions and supporting movements that demand greater responsibility in the fashion industry, we can use our voices to fight for change.
Read that again.
We can influence. We can demonstrate. We can use our voices.
✊🏼 Influencing Stakeholders
It's also crucial to remember that while taking action on your own is necessary, it is not sufficient by itself.
There is still a long way to go, but after reading the report, it is reassuring that certain brands are making progress.
The 2022 Remake Fashion Accountability Report is a valuable tool for anyone concerned about the effects of the fashion business on the planet.
It serves as a wake-up call, underscoring the necessity of change and the part that each of us can play in bringing it about.
♻️ The Bra Recyclers are Leading by Example
The Bra Recyclers is one organisation that significantly contributes to the sustainable fashion sector.
Established by Elaine Birks-Mitchell in 2008, The Bra Recyclers gathers gently-worn bras and new underwear to provide to organisations that help individuals and families in need facing poverty or recovering from traumatic life events such as domestic abuse and human trafficking.
Retailers who partner with The Bra Recyclers become Recycling Ambassadors.
Through this partnership, the Recycling Ambassadors gain a solution for their overstock and returns by providing them to The Bra Recyclers.
According to a study by Optoro, an estimated 5.8 billion lbs of landfill waste is created from returned inventory each year. 😱
The Bra Recyclers is revolutionising the way retailers in the lingerie industry are disposing of returns and stock by offering them a sustainable solution that helps change the lives of families in need.
These retailers also increase customer engagement by providing them with recycling rewards for recycling their bras and new underwear at their store and contributing to a circular economy.
So, they receive the opportunity to evolve their business to a more sustainable model, and grow their revenue - reaching more consumers that care about the planet.
Not only do these retailers increase their sustainability impact, but they also encourage their customers to give a new lease of life to their pre-loved bras and develop better consumer habits.
The Bra Recyclers also have a non-profit philanthropic arm called The Undie Chest.
This organisation gathers new underwear and gives it to families and individuals in need, with the intent to expand its outreach to retailers who prefer to partner with a non-profit.
By eliminating waste and giving clothes to people in need, The Bra Recyclers and The Undie Chest seek to improve sustainability in the fashion business.
In addition, by giving essential items to people who might not otherwise have access to it, their work supports dignity and self-esteem.
The movement created by Elaine is inspiring - and I can only hope that more big-name retailers partner with The Bra Recyclers and The Undie Chest to join the movement while helping change the lives of thousands of people in need.
🔎 Research. 🗣 Raise your voice. 📦 Reduce. 🔄 Reuse. ♻️ Recycle!