I am so disappointed by the new Yaga & Foschini collaboration that was announced this week, and I’d like to explain why.
Foschini & Fast Fashion
Foschini is a fast fashion brand owned by The Foschini Group, who own 20+ other companies, most of which are also fast fashion brands. A fast fashion brand is a clothing brand that continuously releases new collections of trendy/fashionable clothes, sometimes weekly, to encourage consumers to constantly buy new clothes. The clothes are most often made quickly and cheaply in faraway countries by garment workers. These garment workers get paid very little, are treated unfairly and work excessive hours in horrible conditions.
The fast in fast fashion refers to how quickly once out of fashion the clothing ends up as waste. The fast fashion business model is built on the notion that your clothes are disposable, and this is just one reason why the entire fast fashion industry is inherently unsustainable. I’ll be doing a blog post about the lifecycle of fast fashion soon, but I would like to note that the fast fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the worlds carbon emissions, and is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply.
Yaga & Second Hand
Yaga is an online platform and app where people from across South Africa can sell clothes and items they no longer want, instead of throwing it away. I’m sure many people who shop on Yaga like I do, no longer want to support the fast fashion industry and instead buy less and shop second hand.
I know that I am privileged to be able to boycott fast fashion and that many can’t. I started buying second hand at charity shops and second hand shops not because I couldn’t afford new clothes, but because I no longer wanted to support an industry with so little ethics that is doing so much environmental damage. Yaga is a place where i could look for specific items I needed, instead of hoping to find what I need at a charity shop. I’ll be honest I’m really disappointed that Yaga has decided to collaborate with Foschini and I can’t help but wonder what financial motivations there might be for Yaga.
The Yaga & Foschini Collaboration:
Yaga & Foschini are collaborating to promote circular fashion. “For every item sold on Yaga the Seller will receive a unique voucher from Foschini as a reward for extending the life cycle of their garments.”
Before I tell you more about this collab I’d like to explain what circular fashion is and why I feel this collaboration is a form of greenwashing very similarly to Zara’s in store recycling bin initiative.
Circular fashion similarly to a circular system is a sustainable system that not only eliminates waste but also makes every step of a products lifecycle more environmentally friendly.
Circular fashion aims to look at designing pieces that are timeless, then sourcing materials that are sustainable (recycled, etc.), and then producing garments ethically and sustainably (chemical and water management). Once used for a long time, the items can be repaired when needed, and when the item reaches the end of it’s lifespan it is redesigned into a new garment, and so the cycle continues.
If Foschini really cared about circular fashion, they would look at themselves first, instead of putting all the responsibility on the consumer. This collaboration seems to be a performative action, and Foschini is misleading consumers, and is pretending to be more sustainable than they actually are (greenwashing).
I don’t think that they are taking any responsibility for the environmentally destructive fast fashion culture they are a part of, and profit from. Instead they are encouraging South Africans to buy more instead of buying less and reusing and repairing what they already have.
The Foschini vouchers you get on Yaga are only valid to use for 30 days and only 1 can only be used at a time. In order to use a R150 voucher your minimum spend needs to be at least R600. Overconsumption is not the answer, buying less is. The reality is that we don’t truly value what we buy, and we live in a world where it’s cheaper to replace a damaged item than it is to repair it.
When you need new clothing items, please consider to buy them second hand instead of new.
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