The Fashion Industry produces more clothes than we can buy.
We buy more clothes than we can use.
Steve Coogan and Michael Winterbottom’s satire on the billionaires at the head of the fashion industry pulls no punches – with an interview in the weekend’s i newspaper:
The Irish Times is even more explicit:
Greed: How Sony censored Steve Coogan’s new fashion-tycoon send-up
End your film with shocking statistics? No way, the studio told Michael Winterbottom
Greed is a boisterous satire largely set during the lavish 60th-birthday party in Mykonos (Coldplay, newly built amphitheatre, lion) of a British fashion mogul with deep tan and alarming teeth, based heavily on Philip Green, the owner of Topshop and Topman, among other companies. Steve Coogan stars as Sir Richard “Greedy” McCready; David Mitchell plays a journalist roped into writing his biography, who travels to the Far East to tour the factories that manufacture the clothes that have made his subject so rich.
The original version of the film ended with a series of cards spelling out how real life is yet more grotesque than fiction. How workers in Myanmar and Bangladesh earn €3.30 and €2.60 a day making clothes for high-street brands while H&M’s owner, Stefan Persson, is worth about €16 billion and Zara’s owner, Amancio Ortega, €60 billion.
At the first test screening, in March, reports Winterbottom, these cards were a big hit. “People didn’t find the message annoying; they loved it. But, unfortunately, we were told we couldn’t put them in the film.”
But we can’t simply blame the ‘billionaires’, as we all seem to be quite happy with this state of affairs.
And it’s not just the sweatshops of South Asia which bear the brunt of our insatiable appetite for clothes:
The Fashion Industry produces more clothes than we can buy. We buy more clothes than we can use.
Every year billions of items of clothing “end up” in places like Accra, Ghana.
Dead White Man’s Clothes is a multimedia research project comprised of hours of audiovisual recordings, thousands of photos and multiple datasets exploring the impact of “used” clothing in and around Kantamanto Market in Accra. As we compile this information with an open-source spirit, we invite you to ask questions and leave comments to help guide our work. Please visit https://deadwhitemansclothes.org to contribute your voice.
The UK as a huge producer of waste clothing:
Whilst a recent government report puts the UK as the largest producer of waste clothing after the US:
So, what can we do about it?
Twenty years ago, WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) was set up to promote sustainable waste management.
It tells us to love our clothes a little more:
And amongst all the information it offers on the circular economy, it has some very useful stuff to say about the clothing industry:
Textiles – Overview
Locally, we have a great place to encourage re-use of clothing:
And finally, there is the recycling accreditation scheme: