Fast fashion and the culture that supports it needs to change. Lex Croucher gives easily implementable advice for reducing our reliance on the unethical fashion industry.
Lex Croucher isn’t a stranger to the pleasure of a successful clothes haul. She reveals in her video, Stop Making Haul Videos, that she was “addicted to the rush of excitement you get when you find something that you love.”
This feeling of excitement, of going home clutching a bag full of new clothes is legitimised by the YouTube genre of “haul videos,” where viewers would marvel and admire all the new clothes “purchased” by the YouTuber. Lex is understanding of the pleasures of somehow reinventing yourself through a clothes haul, however she tells us sternly, “just because something’s satisfying, doesn’t mean it’s right… like masturbating in the aquarium!”
The term “fast fashion,” refers to the fast-paced fashion trends and designs which are cycled through in high street stores. Why is this a problem? Lex tells us, “high street retailers typically do not use ethical labour or suppliers.” She notes a particular example of the devastating Bangladesh factory collapse in 2013, where over a thousand garment workers, making clothes for bands like Primark, died.
This milieu of fast fashion also has devastating effects on the environment. In a recent story by Reuters, they report “Britain should pressurize fashion brands to design clothes that pollute less and are easier to recycle to reduce fast fashion’s environmental impact.” A publication by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation from 2017 explains that the fast-changing fashion trends of recent decades have resulted in the steep decline of clothing utilisation. As a result, 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gasses are produced by the industry annually.
Further compounding the environmental impacts of the textiles industry are toxic pollutants. Lex tells us that “textile dying is the second largest polluter of clean water globally,” however even more worrying is the polyester which most of our clothes are now made from: “[Polyester] sheds microfibres, it harms sea life and ultimately ends up harming us.“
Lex’s first goal is to reduce the consumer’s insatiable urge for new clothes, increasing clothing utilisation and thus longevity. This calls for clothes haul YouTubers to, instead of producing huge haul videos every season, inform their audiences how to get the most out of their existing clothes – perhaps finding new and exciting ways to restyle them. Lex also reminds us that we don’t have to buy six new jumpers every autumn, because, “spoiler alert! It was autumn last year!”
Clothes recycling is an inefficient process, and charity shops throw out unsold clothes into landfills, so for unwanted clothes, Lex tells us that selling things on eBay or Depop is a fantastic way of extending the life of those items.
The textiles industry needs to change, and that can only happen if consumers start recognising and demanding it. We applaud Lex for reigniting this conversation and spreading the word about the unethical practices that are hurting workers as well as the environment, and we hope that our relationship with fashion changes to a more sustainable model in the near future!
Interested in the industry secrets that can make your videos look more professional? Jay Moussa-Mann has five tips for you! Otherwise,Suli Breaks has a beautiful spoken word poem about why we need to take control of our lives!