Stacey Dooley: Fashion’s Dirty Secrets

We unpack Stacey Dooley’s eye-opening documentary “Fashion’s Dirty Secret” that highlights the impact that the Fast Fashion industry is having on our planet.

The Overview

Since airing in October 2018, BBC’s tell-all documentary has caused a world-wide uproar about the effects of the global fashion industry. Giving a harrowing insight into the realities behind our shopping habits, Fashion’s Dirty Secrets gives us the behind-the-scenes view we all needed to know…

The Key Takeaways

1. Fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world.

“It’s not sustainable, it’s on borrowed time, because what we’re doing is we are producing over 100 billion new garments from new fibres every single year – and the planet cannot sustain that.” Lucy Siegle told Dooley.

Stacey took to the high street to ask the public which industries they thought to be most polluting. Very few interviewees were aware of the environmental impacts of the fast fashion industry (it’s one of the most polluting industries in the world after coal and oil). These stark interviews highlighted the disconnect between our shopping habits and the production process of the pieces we purchase.

2. Cotton farming is destructive and unsustainable

Dooley travelled across Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Indonesia to document the damage of garment production first hand. To her horror, she witnessed one of the largest recent environmental disasters – the Aral Sea, showing just how destructive unsustainable cotton farming can be.

The cotton industry’s heavy reliance on water and chemicals also shocked the UK public, with over 15,000 litres of water used to create just a single pair of jeans.

3. Accountability and transparency must be prioritised

When Stacey reached out to global fast fashion brands, it was evident that companies didn’t want to talk. Although sustainability continues to be mentioned in CSR initiatives across major fashion brands, Stacey was turned down by representatives of both ASOS and Primark.

It’s clear throughout the documentary that supply chain transparency must be prioritised, and consumers must put pressure on their favourite fashion brands to disclose more information.

4. The damage to our rivers seems irreversible

Stacey’s visit to Indonesia was perhaps the most shocking, witnessing first hand garment factories pumping chemicals into the Citarum River, known to be one of the “world’s most polluted rivers”. Scientific sampling revealed that the river contained traces of mercury, lead and arsenic which have been linked to serious health issues.

5. The time for change is NOW

It’s clear we’re running out of time to get things moving in the right direction. The fashion industry has devastating consequences across the world, and whilst large-scale fashion brands must radically change, the power of each and every consumer cannot be underestimated.

Starting with small changes to our shopping habits, namely buying less fast fashion must be a good place to begin.

“Stacey Dooley Investigates: Fashion’s Dirty Secrets” is viewable here.