You may have heard about the crazy discounts being offered by fast fashion giant Pretty Little Thing on Black Friday. The incredible sale was the talk of social media, as the brand slashed prices of 100s of items to under £1, inclusive of footwear and outerwear. Lucky shoppers were able to snap up multiple items for under £10. The sale launched at Midnight on Black Friday and quickly became a phenomenon across social media, under the hashtag #PLTPINKFRIDAY. Unfortunately, I was not quick enough to benefit from the massive discounts as many items were sold out within 30 minutes of the sale being active. The brand launched more 99% off sale drops throughout the day, with increased social media attention the products were flying off the shelves, with items selling out in seconds. I remember seeing sold out dresses priced at 15p and fur coats priced at 55p and thinking I can’t believe I didn’t snap one up.
However, as beneficial as the low prices were to consumers; you have to question the negative impact of a 99% off sale on the environment. Fast fashion is one of the biggest global polluters. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions and uses around 1.5 trillion litres of water annually. A figure significantly higher than the emissions from all international flights. It also makes you question, are all the workers involved in the production process paid fairly?
It was only a few months ago that Boohoo, the sister brand to PLT, was investigated for underpaying garment workers in their factories located in Leicester. The Sunday Times sent an undercover reporter to the retailer’s factories and uncovered that staff were working in exploitative conditions being paid as little as £3.50 an hour. Despite the minimum wage in the UK being £8.72, for any adults aged 25+. Boohoo claimed that they were uncertain of what company was supplying all of the brands garments and they had no prior knowledge of the poor labour conditions. Boohoo made the statement: “We are taking immediate action to thoroughly investigate how our garments were in their hands, will ensure that our suppliers immediately cease working with this company and we will urgently review our relationship with any suppliers who have subcontracted work to the manufacturer in question.”
It makes you wonder how many other instances like this are going on without our knowledge.
Pretty Little Thing’s Black Friday sale did not come without its controversy, the brand received a number of complaints by the public on social media. PLT made the following statement in regards to the backlash: “As part of our Black Friday campaign, we are offering customers in the UK 99% off selected lines while stock lasts…After a bleak 2020 for most of us, we wanted to offer something competitive and understand people may be spending less in what is usually peak shopping season.” Despite its criticisms, the sale was certainly a success and it got everyone discussing the brand.