Fast fashion is responsible for more emissions than shipping and aviation combined and by 2050 could account for a quarter of the world’s carbon budget. Consumers have been informed about the ethical alternatives but whilst sales of more sustainably sourced clothes are increasing, the biggest success of 2018 was a fast fashion brand which often sells dresses for less than the cost of their postage.
After grilling the fashion industry, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has recommended action to curb throwaway culture at an industry level. But can regulation really change a nation of shopaholics who buy more clothes than the people of any other country in Europe? Lucy Siegle finds out how social media has fuelled a huge increase in consumption and how regulation, industry leaders and new generations of consumers and campaigners may finally force the industry to curb its excess.