Intersectional Discrimination and Exploitation Within the UK Fast Fashion Industry


  • Harriet Daisy Smith Alumna



intersectionality, fast fashion, exploitation, modern slavery, race, national minimum wage, gender


‘Fast Fashion’ is the term for clothing businesses which create clothes at a quick rate and sell them at low prices, often following the latest microtrends in fashion. While multi-million-pound companies within the United Kingdom (UK) such as PrettyLittleThing and Boohoo are what society sees as the face of this industry, it is really made up of garment workers, 80% of which are women of colour, who are discriminated against and exploited behind the scenes inside and outside of the UK. The legislation that governs how UK companies treat their workers, such as the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006, as well as the Government’s weak response to non-compliance with the national minimum wage, allows this discrimination and exploitation to continue, leading to impunity for employers. The fact that most of these workers are women of colour from non-western cultures highlights that this is an intersectional issue. This article argues that the UK Government is not producing effective legislation that protects workers’ rights, specifically, women of colour garment workers in the fast fashion industry. Overall, tougher legislation must be put in place to ensure that employers and businesses work to eradicate intersectional discrimination and exploitation of garment workers within the fast fashion industry.