Garment workers in Pakistan starve as fast fashion cycle continues

By Nazeefa Ahmed, July 22, 2022

garment workers Bismillah Garment Factory in Faisalabad, Pakistan is unable to afford basic living expenses because fast fashion clothing company, Missguided, collapsed due to a lack of demand for their products. The UK-based company has seen rising labor, delivery and fabric costs, which has resulted in workers being unable to receive their wages for completed orders. Given that they are only paid €100-160 per month, many workers find themselves begging in the streets to feed their families.

Experts say Missguided’s marketing strategies are leading to its demise. Darcey Jupp, apparel analyst at market research firm GlobalData, Explain how Missguided’s collapse differs from other fast fashion companies.

“The real reason for [Missguided’s] The demise was his lack of competitiveness with Shein and Boohoo,” she said. “While many UK pureplays struggled to maintain their pandemic momentum in 2021 as in-person shopping returned, Missguided has slipped further than most, with its lack of high-profile celebrity collaborations and unrewarded prices. competitive contributing to the brand losing the lucrative attention of young shoppers in the UK fast fashion market.

But viewing the collapse as a business failure gives an excuse to pour more money into fast fashion clothing brands without addressing the root problem: consumers are consuming more clothes than ever before.

Fast fashion has seen a boom during the pandemic, a time when Shein and Boohoo carry were all the rage. Young girls often bought boxes of clothes from these brands, posted content on TikTok with them, then threw their clothes at the local thrift store. This overconsumption has led to many thrift stores throw clothes for lack of space.

Clothing is treated as a disposable item – one that is worn once and then tossed in the back of the closet for the next few months before being sent to a local thrift store. Clothing from these sites is also dangerous, as it would contain many toxic chemicals such as lead, PFAS and phthalates. Garment workers have to work with the most potent version of these chemicals during their production, resulting in many long-term health problems. The lack of health and safety measures available to them means that these issues are often neglected and under-treated.

Consumers who can afford or have access to other purchasing options – but who continue to buy fast fashion – ultimately allow these practices to continue. Additionally, the pervasive influencer culture that took over in the late 2010s has changed the way many of us look at personal style. We’re supposed to have a closet full of the latest trends and avoid repeating outfits – mimicking the wealth and luxury of people like Kylie Jenner, in order to be socially accepted. Fast fashion, in a sense, is a doorway to perceived opulence. But there is a way to be fashionable while avoiding the pitfalls of overconsumption.

People of all socio-economic classes should save a small part of their wardrobe. I saved within my family, wearing my mom’s old styles or my brother’s oversized shirts around the house. Calgary also has some good places to shop for vintage pieces to spice up your wardrobe. Since people are more open to new styles, drawing inspiration from past decades and according to a particular aesthetic, savings can most likely become widespread. Those who like the dark academic look can bring an old man’s tweed blazer to life, instead of buying a shoddy version from Shein. Cottagecore girls can turn a 2010 maxi dress into a garden-ready flowing skirt.

However, as in any capitalist system, an increase in demand increases the price of a product. When thrift shopping becomes fashionable, stores have been known to raise their prices, creating a barrier for low-income households. Affordable fast fashion prices may be their only option.

A volunteer-run thrift store in Calgary hopes to combat this problem. good neighbor has a “pay what you want” system, making second-hand shopping accessible to everyone. Government programs and annual clothing drives are some of the ways clothing can get to those who need it most.

Gen Z can support the savings movement. Even though we grew up in a world that treated clothes like plastic cups, we are still young and open to change. While previous generations viewed saving as a social taboo, Gen Z has embraced second-hand shopping with open arms.

The fashion cycle is collapsing due to overconsumption in the global North, and people like Pakistani garment workers in Faisalabad are suffering the most. Before hitting “checkout” on our online shopping cart, we all need to open our cupboards and think about ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Buying quality clothes if possible, saving and recycling old styles are some of the ways to stop the cycle before it’s too late.

This article is part of our Voice section.

Michael O. Stutler