Fashion's Dirty Secrets

Dirty Cotton

We all have Skeletons in our Closets and Dirty Fashion Secrets: If Stacey Dooley investigated yours what would she find?

“I truly believe that it’s not that people don’t care, it’s just that we’re not informed”

Stacey herself confesses to knowing very little about the environmental costs of fashion before creating the documentary Fashion’s Dirty Secrets.

It was a documentary that brought the harrowing environmental and human costs of fast fashion to the forefront of our minds.

In Fashion’s Dirty Secrets, Stacey travelled around the globe to investigate the impact that the fashion industry is having on our planet.  What she found highlighted how fast fashion continues to devastate wildlife and communities around the world.

In Kazakhstan, Staceyvisited the former Aral Sea – once an area of water almost the size of Ireland, now completely dried up after cotton production started in the region in the 1960s.

“There used to be fish – tens of thousands of tonnes of fish – and now there’s a camel,” Stacey observed after driving for three and a half hours across the former seabed.  

The once thriving local fishing industry has been wiped out, costing tens of thousands of jobs. “It’s hard to believe that an area as big as this can be so dramatically altered to grow cotton for our clothes.”

The consumer demand for fast fashion – cheap, disposable, trend-led clothing produced quickly by mass-market retailers – has seen clothing production double in the past 15 years and British consumers today purchasing twice as many items as they were 10 years ago.   

“Fast fashion is making us poorer and poorer, the owners of the brands richer and richer and our global landfills larger and larger – contributing to greenhouse gas emissions on an enormous scale,” said Livia Firth.

“It’s my firm belief that nothing will ever change while fast fashion and its current business model stays as it is. That is, producing huge volumes of clothes, in incredibly fast cycles, very cheaply. That is, continuing to addict us to an even crazier cycle of consumption, which is totally unsustainable in itself.

“It’s time for us to be active citizens and active consumers. We can’t continue to demand change until we challenge the pace of thoughtless consumption which the fast fashion brands have dictated to us.”

In this clip, Stacey is on the streets of Glasgow talking to shoppers, checking out what they’ve bought and drawing peoples’ attention to cotton.

She puts it into terms that are understandable to us. Shows one shopper that it took 10,330 litres of water just to grow the cotton to make a jacket. Twenty-four years of drinking water.

One woman gets particularly emotional about it. Knows that people are struggling for drinking water and so much is used to make one single item.

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