PrettyLittleThing at London Fashion Week

PrettyLittleThing to walk London Fashion Week. Alex explores the sustainability implications of PLT among "high fashion" brands.

Alex Bailey
22nd February 2022
Image: Instagram @prettylittlething

Molly-Mae Hague, the creative director of fast fashion giant PrettyLittleThing, announced that the brand would have their very own catwalk show at London Fashion Week. In the now edited post, Hague has clarified that whilst PLT will be holding an event during London Fashion Week, it will not be on the official LFW schedule. So, does PrettyLittleThing have a place at the "high fashion" event?

Image: Instagram @mollymae

Does PrettyLittleThing have a place at the "high fashion" event?

LFW is hosted by the British Fashion Council, which led British fashion houses during COP26, calling on companies to slash their carbon emissions by half before 2030. The industry had a previous target of reducing emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, but as estimates suggest that the clothing industry is responsible for around 8% of all greenhouse emissions, pressure to reduce the impact on the environment is mounting.

PLT appears to be a thorn in the side of any pledge for better climate practises

PLT appears to be a thorn in the side of any pledge for better climate practices. The $3.54 billion company operates on a ‘fast-fashion’ business model, encouraging its consumers to buy high quantities of clothing for low prices, which has been repeatedly criticized for its negative environmental impact. PLT has a sustainability page on their website, with claims including their desire to ‘make a positive change’ and ‘create a more sustainable future’. With no measurable or time-bound aims to achieve this, or any evidence of PLT changing their practices, this seems like an empty green-washing tactic.

The PLT catwalk is clearly a mere marketing tool and cash-grab, and to many, it is insulting to the designers who create with passion and purpose

Image: Instagram @anciela_london

The absence of any concern for sustainability by PLT is only one half of the reason for pushback towards the show. LFW prides itself on showcasing the best of British ‘creativity and culture’. Fashion brand Anciela, making its virtual debut at LFW, combines inspiration from Latin folklore with the experience of living in London to embody the premise of LFW. Contrast this with PLT, who have a history of stolen designs and poor quality products, and produce garments with profit in mind above all else. The PLT catwalk is clearly a mere marketing tool and cash-grab, and to many, is insulting to the designers who create with passion and purpose.

Many brands that show during LFW have similarly damaging practises

However, many have been quick to criticise PLT’s presence at LFW on environmental grounds, whilst failing to recognise that many brands that show during LFW have similarly damaging practices. Louis Vuitton for example, are notorious for burning unsold stock to maintain the brands position as exclusive and ‘aspirational’. Whilst not an excuse for PLT, the blind-eye turned to practices of luxury brands is an interesting lesson in the role that brand identity plays in environmental scrutiny. Perhaps hosting the catwalk show is an attempt by PLT to alter their brand imagine and drive attention away from criticism of their sustainability, or lack thereof.

The PLT catwalk is a starting point for a wider conversation regarding the bad practices among the fashion industry. PLT’s lack of sustainability initiatives, and an absence of any creativity or culture, run directly against everything the British Fashion Council stands for. Perhaps the council were right to make it clear that PrettyLittleThing was not a part of the official LFW schedule.

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