Johnson’s £88m sustainable fashion pledge in jeopardy

In June of 2022, the Prime Minister’s promise of funds that would help to move the fashion industry towards a circular model was toasted with champagne. Now, following his resignation barely a month later, there are concerns that this pledge, already met with some doubts, will go entirely down the drain.

London and the rest of the UK have an extensive fashion and textile history; however, this history is one which has seen great damage to the environment. In line with the increased global understanding of the need for a reshaping of the industry, the government promised £88 million specifically dedicated to structural change in the British clothing market. However, this decision was met with some disapproval, with many feeling that it was too little too late. Co-founder of fashion climate justice campaigners Fashion Revolution, Orsola de Castro, said that not enough was being done about the issues of overproduction and lack of fair working conditions in the industry. Equally, the pledge had little in the way of specifics, with a date not being set for its donation, nor a clear programme of attack on the problems it was purported to solve. Despite this, the pledge was also seen as something like a glimmer of hope in a sea of bad news following the global sustainability in fashion crisis.

However, Boris Johnson’s pending resignation as Prime Minister as of 7th July 2022 throws the whole initiative both out of the public eye and potentially out of the list of priorities for the government. Seen by some as an attempt to quickly improve his image, the pledge could thus move to the bottom of the pile for the new leader, who will have a chance to recapitulate the government’s priorities on something of a new slate. Furthermore, there are worries that the pledge will be lost entirely in the midst of the Conservative Party leadership struggle, a fear which perhaps reflects a somewhat lax attitude of governments past to the pressing issue of climate accountability in the textile and garment industry.

You can read more of Em’s work on her Twitter @emponcia

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