Missguided exec defends fast fashion after £1 bikini furore
The head of product quality and supply base at fashion retailer Missguided has defended the retailer and the entire fast-fashion sector following criticism of its environmental impact and a furore over a bikini the company has been selling for just £1.
Writing in Retail Week, Paul Smith said it was wrong to “demonise fashion’s democratisation” and that “the retail sector’s issues around sustainability and ethics go much deeper than sounding off about a £1 bikini.”
The bikini was promoted on Love Island and sold out almost immediately, even after being restocked more than once. Along with the Love Island appearance, the retailer saw a storm of criticism in social media directed at “throwaway” fashion product selling at unsustainably low prices. The news about the bikini was given greater prominence given that it had come in the same week that the UK government rejected calls for a 1p tax on fashion products to tackle the industry’s impact on the environment.
Smith said the bikini was actually a “loss-leader” designed to promote the brand. “Our £1 bikini was priced to generate interest and we’re not embarrassed about it,” he said. “At Missguided we’ve always lived close to the edge when it comes to marketing, but we’re comfortable with that because there are never shortcuts when it comes to the product.”
He added that fast turnaround on a high number of relatively low-volume orders “allows us to use end-of-run material that may have been destined for landfill. We expect our suppliers to enforce the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code and unlike many other retailers, we’re proud to be active members.”
He added that the company now makes around 30% of its production in the UK, in Leicester, and that "it’s in the country’s best interest for there to be a vibrant, revived homegrown fashion manufacturing base that can challenge the world. But we recognise this can only happen if companies like Missguided source to the highest standards.”
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