Although in recent years there has been a renewed interest in clothing made in Britain, there are concerns that the demand for ‘fast fashion’ is fuelling the need for quick turnarounds in supply chain, leading to poor working conditions in UK garment factories. The Environmental Audit Committee launched an inquiry in June to investigate the social and environmental impact of ‘fast fashion’ and that of the wider clothing industry. The inquiry focuses on the carbon, resource and water use impacts of clothing throughout a garment’s entire lifecycle, while exploring options for recycling clothes at the end of life stage while reducing waste and pollution.
Evidence already submitted to the EAC has revealed that the UK has a higher consumption of new clothing than any other European country, with 26.7 kilogrammes (kg) per capita per year, far ahead of Germany on 16.7kg, while the global fashion industry produced around 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2015.
Fashion companies are being asked to provide evidence of their sustainability initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of fashion. The companies under the focus of EAC include: Marks & Spencer Group, Primark Stores, Next Retail, Arcadia Group, Asda, TK Maxx and HomeSense, Tesco, JD Sports Fashion, Debenhams and Sports Direct International.