Fashion is a remarkable industry. Clothing and fashion represent eras of time, and as time quickly moves on, fashion moves with it. Everything a person encounters in their life influences their attitude and behaviour. There are influencers in every corner of society and now, with the power and advancement of marketing and social media which creates a global network, it is very difficult to escape. Fashion is a way of expressing a person’s identity and identity is encouraged and shaped every day.
There are around 555,000 people currently employed in the fashion industry, whether it be textiles or fashion retail, and that is only in the UK. That’s how many people it takes to keep up with this excessive industry. Global Fashion is ever so dependent on trends, which is what keeps consumers driven to buy the next best product that a brand releases. People get bored with a style very quickly and as stated earlier influence is constantly changing the game which is why celebrities and influencers have such a key role to play in successful marketing and promotions. The pace of the industry also means that goods have an extremely short shelf life, resulting in mass production and fast production.
The growth in the industry and any other industry across the globe has also been influenced by the power of the internet and social media, connecting the globe on one screen. This includes businesses, services, government and of course you and I. The point is there is a huge market expansion that is now connecting us on the move with the incredible breakthrough of mobile phones. E-commerce has also created vast opportunity in the global fashion industry allowing consumers to purchase online, furthermore, the constant adaptation of ease of check out has made it easier and quicker than ever for consumers to purchase.
With an easier access to large target markets for fashion companies and brands comes an external threat of competition. In western societies, the competition lies in retailer commerce and brand preference whereas in developing parts of the world such as Africa and Pacific Asia compete for the manufacturing and export segment. In-between all of this is the supply chain which involves the process it takes for the top your wearing to arrive on your body.
So everything is great! A 4.78% growth in the fashion apparel industry every year since 2011, valued at 1.4 trillion dollars in sales in 2017 and this is only going to get bigger. Competition means that the economy is happy and so are the people high up in the fashion game.
This is the part where I tell you what I am in fact going to discuss in this article. Ethics.
Ethics involves moral decision made by a person in a situation. Ethics are mostly a universally shared attitude which is sometimes interrupted by someone achieving something but ethical order and policy are standing in their way.
We are approaching our fifth year on from the infamous man-made disaster in the Bangladeshi complex which killed over 1,000 people. Southern Asia is one of the main culprits for labor exploitation which involves deliberately taking advantage of less fortunate people to the point that they have no choice other than to work for a next to nothing wage. The building collapsed simply due to the fact that it was over occupied. They were overloading people and equipment into rooms which can so that the supplier could develop mass amounts of clothing.
Slave labour is the result of such speed in the fashion industry. Big retail and brand names are now extremely high in demand; this allows brands to charge premium prices. Good business is generally viewed as “buying low and selling high” and somewhere along the way companies found a way of mass manufacturing in third world countries cheaply.
Sweatshops have been around for many years and still are. It is estimated that around 168 million children aged between 5 and 14 are forced to work in developing countries.