The fashion industry looks bright and full of fun with beautiful models, elegant dresses, and the latest creations of fashion designers in the world.

However, there is a darker side to this industry.

You might be surprised when the world of the fashion industry is associated with terms such as coercive control, environmental pollution, physical and moral violence, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, and many more, hidden behind sexy dresses, fancy shirts, and tons of makeup.

The second largest environmental polluter in the world

The fashion and fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. It causes more pollution than the shipping, aviation and aviation sectors combined. It is also responsible for 20% of the world’s wastewater and 10% of toxic carbon emissions. Many scientists classify it as Experts say it is the second largest polluter of the environment after the oil industry, according to the slidebean platform.

It takes about 7,500 to 10,000 liters of water to make one pair of jeans, which is equivalent to 10 years of drinking water for one person.

As for making one cotton shirt, it requires 2,700 liters of water, which is equivalent to 3 years of drinking water for one person.

Of course, the environmental impacts include more than just water. They also relate to carbon emissions, pollution and land degradation, not to mention that the fashion industry involves a lot of labour, and here we are talking about 1 in 6 people globally who work in the fashion industry, It is no exaggeration when we say that the fashion industry, including luxury brands, is highly exploitative, according to the "green is the new black" platform.

And when we think about fashion, we also have to think beyond the production of clothes, it's a complete life cycle, we have to think about: transportation, consumption, use and final disposal of waste, all of which have huge and even devastating effects on the environment.

The clothing industry is responsible for 20% of the world's wastewater and 10% of toxic carbon emissions (Shutterstock)

Modern slavery and the fast fashion trap

Some may think that slavery ended a long time ago, but this is just an illusion. It exists and we know it or not. According to a report published a few days ago by the “Remarkable Woman” platform, there are more than 40 million people around the world who suffer from Slavery, and most of these women and girls work in the fashion industry or "Fast Fashion" laboratories in Asia.

Fashion or fast fashion is a contemporary term used in fashion retail to express designs that move from the catwalk directly to keep pace with current fashion trends. Improving certain aspects so that they are designed and manufactured quickly and inexpensively allowing the average consumer to purchase the latest fashion at the lowest price.

A 2019 report by Oxfam, Made in Poverty - The Real Price of Fashion, interviewed 472 garment workers in Vietnam and Bangladesh, the two countries where Australian fashion is made.

Scary facts behind the fashion industry

The report revealed frightening results, including:

  •  9 out of 10 workers interviewed in Bangladesh cannot provide enough food for themselves and their families, and are in debt to make ends meet.

  • 72% of workers interviewed in Bangladesh factories that supply major brands in Australia, and 53% in Vietnam, cannot afford medical treatment when they are sick or injured, and are of course not covered by any type of health insurance.

  • 76% of workers interviewed in factories in Bangladesh, and 40% in Vietnam, do not have safe water indoors.

  • Also in Bangladesh, 1 in 3 workers interviewed is separated from their children, and nearly 80% of these cases are attributed to a lack of sufficient income.

Last August, well-known fashion brand Shein was accused by Reuters news agency for failing to disclose working conditions along its supply chain required by UK law.

Until recently, the company incorrectly stated on its website that the conditions in the factories it uses have been approved by international labor standards bodies, which is not entirely true.

More than 40 million people suffer from modern slavery, most of them women and girls working in the fashion industry (Shutterstock)

Rape, sexual exploitation and human trafficking

In a recent documentary produced by the British newspaper (he Guardian) and Wonderhood Studios, based on an investigative report by British journalist Lucy Osborne, titled “Scouting for Girls: Fashion's Darkest Secret review) highlights the rampant rape and sexual assault of young girls aged 13, 14 and 15 by those who are supposed to be responsible for their security and protection.

The film focuses on 4 people in particular: John Casablancas, Gerald Marie, Jean-Luc Brunel, Claude Haddad, and these are the ones who basically dominated the fashion industry in the eighties and nineties of the last century, the most glamorous era in the history of this industry that reached its peak At the time, with so many beautiful supermodels around, the promise of success, money, fame and travel was incredibly tempting to many young women around the world, but the reality was something else different behind that heady glow.

Three of these four died, and only Marie is still alive, and he categorically denies all these "allegations," he says.

The film focuses on "scouts" and agents searching for graceful beauties, and it is these girls who will become the victims of the flashy predators. When they tell their harrowing stories in the film, viewers are stunned, as former models Carrie Otis, Shauna Lee and Jill testify. Dodd and others on their bitter experiences at the hands of these wolves.

The women tell basically the same stories, young girls who are tempted to act as models, feel isolated and lonely from their parents in exotic foreign countries, rely mainly on agencies for shelter and money, and are very grateful when their boss takes care of them and provides them with what they need. It begins: a nice conversation, a shoulder to cry on, a little support and feelings of understanding and sharing, then it develops nicely and tactfully when this boss offers the girl to stay in the apartment and sleep in it on the pretext that the night is late, then suddenly harassment and rape happen.

The word "broken" and the bitter feeling of humiliation are very frequent on the lips of girls.

Males rape and then fall asleep, while young girls lie silently crying and terrified until dawn.

Former model Jill Dodd mentions that it was a common practice for agencies to "present" models to males who were paying exorbitant amounts for them, with these wealthy people choosing girls after seeing their pictures in private catalogs, a term that clearly indicates this: "trafficking" by humans” as well as other words and terms expressing the situation, such as coercive control, coercion, seduction, etc.

In fact, this is happening in a world where rapists are rarely held accountable, where convictions for rape are very low around the world.

At the time, Jill and others like her believed that these terrible things had only happened to them, and that they were the cause of what happened to them.

It is the feeling of guilt that always dominates the victim, and gives the real offender the opportunity to escape punishment, and in fact, very few people have tried to help them or even protect them from the human monsters surrounding them.

The investigation of this agonizing documentary has helped bring together victims scattered around the world, who are now mobilizing large numbers of victims, aiding an expanding criminal investigation in France, and hoping to at least bring Marie to justice.

It is difficult for things to change, or at least to change at the required speed, but this film exposed this glamorous industry, and revealed many of its secrets and imperfections... What a terrible and terrifying world.