If you weren’t aware, Missguided recently launched their £1 bikini.
It was available in sizes 4-24, made out of polyester, and yes… It cost just £1. Many jumped on the opportunity to grab themselves the budget swimwear. Some even complained about being unable to get their hands on one of their own.
It’s marketing at it’s finest. Making people feel like they need yet another cheap, low-quality product.
For the conscious consumer, this was anything but a call for celebration.
As a fast fashion brand, this move from Missguided doesn’t surprise me. The £1 bikini is a marketing tactic to drive more traffic to their site; they’re not making money from this product. How could they? It costs far more than £1 to produce a bikini.
It really makes you call into question the quality of a product when it’s retailing for just £1. I believe you get what you pay for. Missguided’s £1 bikini is exactly that… misguided.
In an official statement, Missguided said “we launched the £1 bikini as a promotional item to celebrate 10 years of empowering women to look and feel good without breaking the bank”.
But what about the garment workers? Are we not also trying to empower them?
While the idea of a budget swimwear might be alluring, it comes at a cost to somebody. Not you or me, but the garment workers. Venetia Falconer did a great video on her Instagram, calling Missguided out. She has yet to receive any form of response.
One in six people work in the fashion industry worldwide. Of those, 85% are women. It’s no secret that garment workers are underpaid, with just 2% earning a living wage. To put into perspective how unfair that is; it’s a 1.2 trillion dollar industry.
Did you know that in order to produce polyester fibre it takes 70 billion barrels of oil per year? That’s the same polyester fibre Missguided used for this bikini. It also take over 200 years to break down.
Climate Crisis who? What? Where?
The fashion industry produces 80 billion pieces per year. On average, a garment is only worn 7 times before it goes to landfill. So why aren’t we stopping brands like Missguided from running wasteful promotional deals?
Well, also this week, the UK Government published their response to the Fixing Fashion Report. This is a series of recommendations by the Environmental Audit Committee, in an attempt to make fashion more sustainable.
The UK Government rejected the recommendation to ban brands from incinerating or sending old stock to landfill. Keep in mind that in July 2018, Burberry incinerated almost £30 million worth of unsold stock.
They also rejected a scheme recommendation to get brands to reduce their waste. The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme was rejected, which would’ve required brands to pay 1p per garment in an attempt to reduce textile waste. They even refused to implement mandatory sustainability targets on all fashion brands with a £36+ million turnover.
It means that brands like Missguided will continue to get away with products like the £1 bikini. Products which are produced by underpaid garment workers, using unsustainable materials, just to get website traffic. And the Government refuse to put legislation in place that could reduce this behaviour.
So we can expect to see more products like the £1 bikini. More unethical throw-away items that will pile up in our landfills. Five years after the Rana Plaza collapse, you’d think we’d be doing better by now.
Instead of throwing your money (albeit just £1) on a poorly produced plastic bikini, here’s some things you can do instead.
Wear last years bikini. Nobody cares if you’ve worn that bikini once, twice, or a million times. Wear it again! Cherish the items you already own. This is the ultimate sustainable option.
Buy second-hand. No, I don’t mean used. I’d feel weird about wearing a pre-worn bikini too, trust me. But you can find never-worn, brand new bikinis on second-hand sites like Depop! They’re often cheap as chips, and it’s a sustainable option.
Purchase from ethical & sustainable swimwear brands. While this is a much more pricey option, this swimwear will last. You’ve also got the added benefit of it being made in an eco-conscious, ethical way. To browse my ultimate A-Z of sustainable brands, click here.
I'm Elen Mai, the brains behind Welsh Wanderer and 20-something human biology student from (you guessed it) Wales! Welsh Wanderer is designed with the eco-conscious adventurer in mind. So stick around for tips & tricks on living sustainably.