Boohoo are arguably one of the biggest fast fashion retailers with a growing portfolio of companies to their name. They’ve dominated the market for the last year and have spent the last few years building up a loyal following of bargain hunting fashion followers. Brands that fall under their umbrella include;
- Pretty Little Thing
- Nasty Gal
- Miss Pap
- Karen Millen
They saw a huge boom in sales when the world went into chaos and lockdown was implemented across the globe, but in recent weeks this success has come to a halt and rapidly declined as working practices in one of their UK based factories in Leicester was brought to light.
As you’ll know if you’ve been a long time reader or stumbled across this post after reading my Are Boohoo Ethical? post back in July 2019, Boohoo have a history of unethical behaviour when it comes to the treatment of animals, the general attitude towards the planet in terms of their fast fashion business model (i.e can a fast fashion business really be sustainable when they’re pushing the sale of cheap throwaway clothing) and finally, the treatment of their workers.
Since writing the above post, I haven’t purchased a single garment from Boohoo and won’t even take a second glance if I come across an item of theirs when it’s being sold secondhand. My original post goes into the main reasons why, but I’m here today to explain that I as a consumer cannot support a company that so blatantly disregards human life and won’t take the time to acknowledge their responsibility for the treatment of workers in their factories (which they have now reportedly cut ties with for other reasons).
In the last week alone, there have been so many articles from reputable sources and as I’m well aware that as a blogger, it’s not ethical for you to take my word for it, I have linked some of the main ones I could find for you below (although if you simply search Boohoo in Google in the news you’ll find a huge reading list);
In summary, they’ve been accused of not providing safe working conditions for factory workers amid the pandemic without any PPE, no social distancing measures in place, furloughed workers being told to come into work, workers that have tested positive were told to still come into work and last but not least, workers are being paid around £3.50 a hour, which is way below the minimum wage in the UK.
The factory in question is based in Leicester and distributes clothes for the Boohoo owned brand Pretty Little Thing. Insiders have advised that the push for production has come from retailers following an increase in online sales. It’s all about supply and demand as it is in many businesses, so these companies have taken advantage of the pandemic as other store based companies have had to shut up shop.
Fortunately, the stock prices for Boohoo have dropped dramatically amid the claims as many investors had finally pulled the plug after their concerns over these issues hadn’t been addressed swiftly enough. In another piece of good market news, Next, ASOS and Zalando have all now decided to cut ties with the company, removing their lines from stocks, which brings some faith back in the fashion community as brands do not wish to associate with fast fashion companies that don’t fully investigate their suppliers.
Boohoo have advised that an independent audit is now being carried out of their suppliers to ensure that these practices are weeded out and the NCA (National Crime Agency) and Leicestershire Police are launching an investigation into the Leicester textile industry as a whole, although did not provide comment on Boohoo specifically.
I’m here to ask you as a consumer, fashionista or bargain hunter, that you avoid shopping with any of the above companies like the plague. The only way that we’re going to be able to collectively show companies that operate in this way that it’s not acceptable, is to hit them in their pockets.