Boohoo was the biggest culprit with 67% of its fashion made entirely from fabrics derived from petrochemicals such as polyester, acrylic, nylon and polyamide. That was followed by PrettyLittleThing (66%), Missguided (62%) and Asos (49%).

It also found that an average of 80% of items listed on the brands’ websites contained some amount of new plastics, rising to 89% for PrettyLittleThing, followed by Boohoo and Missguided (each 84%) and Asos (65%).
Fashion United quoted an MIT study which found that the average polyester shirt produces 5.5kg of CO2, 20% more than its cotton equivalent and the same emissions as driving 13 miles in a passenger car.
The RSA study found a “vanishingly small” amount of recycled fabrics are being used by the four brands. The percentage of clothing containing recycled material for Missguided was the highest at just 5%, followed by Asos (4%), Boohoo (2%) and PrettyLittleThing (1%).

A separate RSA study in early 2021 suggested there is an “awareness gap” when it comes to shoppers and the clothing they buy, with just 49% of those who regularly buy fast-fashion admitting to buying clothing that contains synthetic materials.

The RSA is calling on the UK government to explore a per-item “plastics tax” on clothing imported into or produced in the UK containing virgin plastics. It also said fast-fashion brands should look at new ways to promote second-hand clothing and other circular business models such as rental and repair services, and should regularly publish statistics on how much plastic goes into their clothing.

Source: Fashion United