11 Dec 2012
Exploited workers and the environment pay a high cost for our cheap clothes.
We are buying (and discarding) apparel at unprecedented rates. Last year, Australians bought one billion units of clothing, 90 per cent of it imported.
Even the Salvation Army is feeling the weight of our bulging wardrobes, processing more than 20 million garments a year. And according to the organisation's general manager, Neville Barrett, "The number of new, unworn garments donated has increased."
Consumer desire fuels demand, and the behemoths continue to rise at a rapid rate. Topshop has opened stores in Melbourne and Sydney, with Zara moving into Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Next year, Swedish fashion mega-retailer H&M, and Japanese basics brand Uniqlo will land on our shores.
The figures are astounding. Last year, H&M opened 2500 shops worldwide, with estimates suggesting that it sells more than 550 million garments annually.
And I thought there was still an economical crisis worldwide... silly me... haven't bought anything new for years, love Good Sammy's and swap parties!