‘Missguided’s £1 Bikini was invented to give me a nervous breakdown,’ says Lucy Siegle, author of To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out The World? ‘ clothing is a durable good – so you have to make garments to last so that they can be re-worn’, she continues. ‘They take loads of environmental resources to make, such as water, oil, cotton and dyes, and cause global warming gases. But the trade-off is that you keep the garment for a long time and re-wear it. This bikini crosses the line into straight up disposable and has huge ramifications environmentally’.
All this came in the week the Government rejected the Environmental Audit Committee’s Fixing Fashion report, which recommended setting obligatory targets for retailers with a turnover above £36 million putting a ban on incinerating unsold stock, and that companies pay a penny for every garment they produce, to raise funds for better recycling systems in the UK. ‘ I have always thought we need to educate and change personal behaviour towards consumption,’ says designer Richard Malone, whose own collections includes ethically sourced, sustainable fabrics. ‘ It is vital that people understand the actual cost of textile production.’
To be fair, Missguided has pointed out that ‘[the bikini] Cost us more than £1 to produce and we are absorbing the cost so we can offer it as a gift to our customers. There has been no compromise – it is sourced to the same high standards as all of our other products’.
But ask yourself whether, in a world where the fashion industry is responsible for 20% of global waste water and 10% of global carbon emissions, according to the UN, this is really the right message to send? Price tags like this immunise us to the true value of things and fuel a more, more, more culture. As a Greenpeace protesters who interrupted Philip Hammond‘s speech last week shouted, ‘ This is an emergency’.
But the High Street is raising its game: Artek, Linder and H&M all have sustainable swim options. So perhaps it’s worth remembering that well there’s a lot of talk about sustainability, consumer power is in our wallets, not inspirational hashtags. I hope there is a kickback against these items. We deserve better – because the price might be £1, but the cost is much greater.
Article by Laura Antonia Jordan. Photos by misguided.co.uk, Instagram/@Brown.Elle
Text and images sourced from Grazia Magazine.