As details on the horrors and realities of the fast fashion industry have been increasingly revealed over the past few years, fashion companies have gained a lot of attention for the way that their businesses are conducted and how their workers are treated. The Financial Times came out with a report last year on the conditions of the Leicester’s clothing industry, where some workers were only making £3.50 an hour, £5 if they’re lucky, as well as working in unsafe buildings. At the time the article was published, Missguided sourced at least half of their clothing in the UK and specifically Leicester, which has since caused a lot of attention on their business practices and working conditions. So, when the brand released a £1, or $1.27 USD, bikini last week people had a lot to say.
The incredibly cheap, mostly polyester, black, two-piece bikini unsurprisingly sold out very quickly. Although some were very excited about snagging such a good bargain, others were horrified by what the price of this bikini revealed about what it probably costs the company to make it. The issue of how much can the garment factory workers be making if the bathing suit can be sold for so little raised a lot of concerns. One Twitter user explained: “Clothes aren’t meant to be £1. The price is meant to be reflective of the production process which includes sooo many steps including cutting, dying, sewing, packaging, shipping etc. and there are people carrying out those things at each step of the process.”
The fact that the black bikini is made out of polyester also became a point of concern for some. Since the material is not biodegradable, people pointed out that the implications of the piece on our environment will be very harmful. In addition, with the bikini being so cheap, many believe that it will not last very long, and will ultimately be thrown out, adding to the deterioration of the planet.
While Missguided recently released a statement in response to the backlash they received, stating that the production costs are higher than £1, many are still skeptical.