Fast fashion brands, just like many other companies, profit massively off of big holidays. While at Christmas, we scramble for a last minute jumper, on New Year’s Eve, our outfits leave a trail of glitter as we chaotically enter the new year. Heck, some fashion labels are even promoting coronation dressing now.
But, if we had to crown one specific brand for just how exploitative and ruthless it is in its money chase, it has to be the infamous PrettyLittleThing (PLT), who, in the run-up to the Muslim Eid festival (which marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan), has been heavily criticised online for its so-called “Eid edit” collection.
Before we dive into the many issues netizens and Muslim shoppers alike have pointed out regarding PLT’s poor attempt at modest fashion, it’s important we highlight what the values that Eid is based on.
Eid is a major Islamic festival celebrated by Muslims all over the world at the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting and spiritual reflection. For the religious holiday, Muslim families come together for a great celebratory feast, while also making donations to those less fortunate.
The festival is also considered an opportunity for Muslims to reconnect with their faith. To reflect their religious beliefs, many Muslims dress modestly—a key point that was completely ignored by PrettyLittleThing.
Despite the brand having the same 24 hours in a day as fast fashion fiend and longtime PrettyLittleThing collaborator Molly-Mae Hague, Muslim gen Zers were quick to point out how rushed, poorly researched and simply ignorant its take on Eid is.
Dresses that seem modest at first have provocative hidden cut-outs or shorter-than-short hemlines. In other instances, PLT hasn’t even attempted to hide its disrespect as low cut necklines and sheer dresses dominate.
After receiving much deserved criticism across social media, PrettyLittleThing removed 47 items from its curation, leaving only 189, most of which are beauty-related as opposed to actual clothing.
When approached by the BBC for a comment on the latest controversy, the company claimed that the collection was created with the intent of layering rather than stand alone items. Is it just us or does this scream PR damage control?
Unsurprisingly, PLT isn’t the most ideal brand when it comes to finding Eid-appropriate outfits, or any holiday for that matter. With the rise of fast fashion brands like PrettyLittleThing, Missguided, ASOS and Boohoo, we as a society experienced a mammoth uptake in clothes that only had a one-day lifespan. Edits like this promote single-use purchases for one specific event rather than turning to something you already have, renting or shopping second-hand.
Such consumer habits are the result of money-making schemes from men in suits. Fast fashion inherently favours profits over environmental impact. PLT is often described as the ‘throwaway brand’, producing poor quality clothes that break easily or, in some cases, aren’t even wearable.
Anyone remember the warehouse bug infestation that led to pest control being called after Molly-Mae wannabees found critters crawling in their clothes? One-off shopping and disposable drip are single-handedly destroying our planet, and PrettyLittleThing is not planning on doing anything about it anytime soon.
Shortly after the disastrous Eid edit, news broke that PLT’s CEO, Umar Kamani, would be stepping down. Under the 35-year-old’s leadership, factory workers, predominantly from less economically developed countries, were continuously exploited and paid a mere £3.50 an hour. Yes, that definitely makes for a “truly inspirational leader.” The company’s words, not ours…
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As the rivalry between sustainable and fast fashion continues, we can only hope that such a dramatic shift in leadership will mark the beginning of the end for one of this vicious cycle’s most notable criminals.