PrettyLittleThing’s Cyber Monday Sale Is Dangerous Fast Fashion

Cyber ​​Monday sales may get customers to fill their carts, but popular online retailer PrettyLittleThing has come under fire for its 100% discount promotional stunt.

Yes, the fast fashion merchant, a staple among influencers thanks to his on-trend pieces and celebrity collaborations, gave free clothes to a select few quickly enough to grab them.

The Black Friday promotion of items listed for $ 0 has been called “disgusting” and “unethical” by critics concerned about the lack of sustainability of fast fashion.

“Every week we discover new clothing waste sites,” Fairtrade fashion activist and podcaster Venetia La Manna told BuzzFeed News, calling the marketing gimmick “totally unsustainable.” The environmental impact of fast fashion brands has turned countries, like Ghana in West Africa, into textile waste landfills.

La Manna was among the critics who questioned the brand’s actions on Twitter, causing its blockage by PrettyLittleThing owner Umar Kamani.

“You can’t work for a fashion brand in 2021 and not know the impacts of damage from that brand and unfortunately every fast fashion CEO seems to get away with just feigning ignorance,” said the 32 year old. former activist.

An estimated 15 million second-hand clothes arrive each week from the UK, Europe, North America and Australia to end up in Ghana’s capital Accra for the city’s huge clothing market. . However, 40% of them are of such poor quality that they end up in landfill, according to an ABC report.

Last year, PrettyLittleThing’s Black Friday campaign grabbed the headlines, offering shoppers the option of picking up 25p stiletto heels (33 cents in USD) and bodycon dresses at 8p (10 cents). For 2021, the company has gone further by eliminating, in some cases, the price to pay.

“If you’re ready to give away your clothes for free, what happens next? La Manne asked. “And what I would say that says more than anything is how little they like their product.”

And, the activist warned, the economic byproduct of such marketing ploys would have negative ramifications for workers.

The retailer is part of the Boohoo Group, which is owned by British billionaire Mahmud Kamani alongside Carol Kane. A Sunday Times investigation last year found workers at factories making its clothes in the UK were being paid as little as $ 4.37 an hour and flouting COVID security measures at the height of the pandemic.

“This doesn’t just happen in countries like Bangladesh,” La Manna said. “This is also happening on British soil.”

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for PrettyLittleThing said the promotion was part of an orchestrated marketing strategy and insisted that the staggering discounts did not impact vendors.

“The items for sale are carefully selected and the discount is a marketing investment that we make and is built into our costing model, it has no impact on the cost price we pay to suppliers, nor on how whose work we value. create the clothes, ”PLT said in the statement.

The spokesperson for PLT did not answer specific questions about whether it considers itself an ethical brand or whether it measures the environmental impact of its clothes, saying only that its pricing campaign allows customers to access the brand “whatever their budget”.

As scientists warn of the long-term environmental consequences of fast fashion, major discount marketing gimmicks are signs the industry is “out of whack” and “fast fashion seems to be eating itself”, La Manna said.

Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday sales specifically create a sense of urgency for customers, especially in brands that rely on consistent turnover on inexpensive trending products. La Manna believes that the bulk of criticism should be directed at brands rather than consumers, who are sometimes victims of aggressive marketing campaigns and a strong culture of influence.

“We all come into fashion from different privilege points, we all have different levels of access,” La Manna said. “I’m not here to shame anyone about the way they buy because I think the responsibility lies with the brands, I think PrettyLittleThing and Boohoo and all of the big brands have a responsibility to drastically reduce their production . “

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