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African fast fashion may swamp ethical fashion

Fast fashion brands are heading for Africa now. The effects will be catastrophic for the environment. The link between fashion, food security, and health care is barely noticed. And that link is climate change. The fashion industry contributes ten percent of all greenhouse gas emissions on earth. In effect, the industry’s use of water and energy has also highlighted it as one of the planet’s biggest polluters. Climate change is already having a negative impact on food security and consequently health.

As Africa’s population continues to rise, demand for clothing also increases. Even though sustainable fashion brands exist in Africa, there are few, highly-priced brands, and their market penetration is low. Africa is the continent with the highest growing population.

Despite Africa’s potential as a profitable market for ethical fashion, global ethical fashion giants lack a notable presence. Sustainable fashion is usually priced higher than ordinary fashion. There is very little knowledge of sustainable fashion in Africa. Africa’s contribution to sustainability in fashion has come through the consumption of imported secondhand clothes. At least 80 per cent of Africans wear secondhand clothes. The sooner the effect of fast fashion is realized and the importance of ethical clothing emphasized the better will it be for Africa.


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