From a recent blog you will know I committed to the Extinction Rebellion pledge @XRboycottfashion or in other words: NOTHING NEW FOR 52. It hasn't been difficult. With the exception of an occasional COS blouse, I have been an infrequent visitor to the bricks and mortar or digital highstreet for years. I've had many others tell me the same. Fast Fashion is toxic for all but the smallest number of workers at the top paying themselves FAT salaries.
With news just in that Topshop/Topman have a £505 million debt, the new film by Michael Winterbottom: GREED looks set to be THE FILM of the moment as it sets out the lawless culture of abusive, exploitative, asset-stripping capitalism that allows billionaire highstreet retail bosses to fill their pockets with the profits from modern slavery, avoid taxation on those profits, and then walk away from any debts because they have found a way to exploit unregulated fiscal process.
Did I say THIIS FILM IS A MUST SEE? Released in the UK 22nd November and staring Dinita Gohill (pictured with me at the special screening just ahead of London Fashion Week Sept 2019) as its heroine pitted against the excellent Steve Coogan, as a Caligularian Philip Green parody.
A Thug in Bling, and very close to the truth of a certain brash billionaire's life at the height of his excess, Coogan manages to be acutely repulsive, sickening, and pathetic, while the film itself is funny, desperate, shocking and motivating.
As the story journal's one man's sociopathic narcism, foul behaviour and greed unchallenged and unfettered by legal or fiscal laws, you will find yourself, as I did, examining your power to challenge this system. And that is where our strength lies. We are not mindless consumers, we are citizen participants who vote with every purchase. AND THERE ARE MILLIONS OF US.
Unlike me you will not have had the huge educational privilege to visit workers in free trade zones and hear the stories of abuse or, as I wrote about more recently, visit and talk to survivors of Rana Plaza. BUT, like me, after watching GREED, I believe you will be compelled to step up your #sustainable fashion, anti #moderndayslavery activism. Whether it is by joining @OxfamGB #SecondHandSeptember or @XRboycottfashion #NothingNewfor52 it doesn’t matter how you purge #FastFashion from your life...it just matters that you make a decision to stop funding the next super yacht for abusers.
Thank you to Livia Firth of Eco Age for bringing GREED to our attention and for hosting the Q&A session with its director in which we learned you and others are pushing for regulations to stem the loopholes that facilitate this abuse.
Fact: The top ten fashion brands made 18 billion dollars in profit in 2018. The women (80% of garment workers are female) at the bottom of that chain are paid just £4.00 per day and most likely experience verbal abuse and discrimination as part of their everyday existence.
And yes when you do buy new make it ethical, sustainable, or you can borrow, swap, hire or send what you have to wardrobe surgery for refashioning. Try Wear the Walk, Nu Wardrobe Annika-N at remadeinbritain.com and the Good on You app for an excellent ethical directory. Have to mention Po Zu footwear here. Vegan leather made from apple pectin, non toxic solvents and natural rubbers.
And no there isn't a jaunty sign off to this post, just a hope that this film and your new shopping habits will disrupt business as usual.
Note to students studying fashion...you have to know the system to be inside the building to change it. There will be ways in which you can use your creativity to create solutions, so take new knowledge into the building. Use your learning to find out everything you can about sustainable process. Press your lecturers on the subject, gather your own intel and check out the Sustainability Angle a flourishing organisation devoted to future fabrics; Consider working with found clothing Dr Noki or Annika-N style: Work with discarded or end of roll fabrics. And let me know in instagram @franklinonfashion how you will go forward. Over and Out.