Fast Fashion action


Extinction Rebellion to carry out covert leaflet distribution in a number of high street clothes stores in Cork City to highlight the destructive role the fast fashion industry plays in the climate  and biodiversity crises. 

Members of Extinction Rebellion Cork covertly hid 1500 leaflets within items of clothing in a number of high street stores in Cork City, to draw attention to the ways in which fast fashion and the textile industry contribute to the unprecedented biodiversity collapse and climate crisis that is currently threatening our world.    

The fashion industry produces 8-10% of global carbon emissions. An average of 2,700 litres of water is needed to produce one cotton t-shirt. The fashion industry is responsible for 20% of global wastewater. 35% of all microplastics in the ocean come from laundering synthetic textiles like polyester. 

Consumers play a big part in the environmental impact of fast fashion. According to a recent report by the European Parliament, there has been an increase of 40% in the amount of clothes bought by the average EU citizen in just a few decades. Extinction Rebellion wish to inform people of the significant environmental consequences of fast fashion and to raise awareness of the practical and affordable alternatives. These include, using what you have, repair and upcycling, swapping among friends, buying pre-loved clothes in charity or vintage shops and as a last resort buying sustainable, long lasting clothes.

Extinction Rebellion are staging this non-violent direct action in some of Cork’s worst offending stores to both raise awareness among the general public, and to hold fast fashion companies based in Ireland accountable for the products they produce and the environmental impact their practices generate.

Extinction Rebellion recognise that this is a widespread, societal issue. While we encourage consumers to be conscious of their environmental impact, no one person can solve this issue alone. Thus, Extinction Rebellion demand:

  • That the Irish government imposes transparency and environmental labelling on companies in the clothing industry to provide consumers with information on the environmental impact of the products they buy. 
  • That the Irish government regulate the fashion industry to discourage or ban the destructive practices that are rampant in the industry. 
  • That the Irish government encourage practices centred around the circular economy.
  • That the Irish government use their position on a European and global level to push for regulation of the fast fashion industry. 

Activists will be available for interviews and photographs following the action. 

Contact: [email protected]

Statistics on leaflet:

We consume 400% more clothing than 20 years ago. [1]

2700 litres of water is required for the production of a cotton t-shirt [2] — 2.5 years of drinking water [3]

The fashion industry produces 8%[4] to 10%[5] of all humanity’s carbon emissions, produces 20% of global wastewater [5] and pollutes the ocean with microplastics. [6]

35% of all microplastics  in the ocean came from the laundering of synthetic textiles like polyester. [6]

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 84% of unwanted clothes in 2012 went into landfill or an incinerator. [7]

Leaflet bibliography and sources

  1. Adamczyk, A., 2014 Why Brands and Retailers Are Running With the ‘Slow Fashion’ Movement Forbes
  2. 2013 The Impact of a Cotton T-Shirt World Wildlife Fund
  3. 2013, How Your T-Shirt Can Make a Difference National Geographic
  4. Zollinger, M. & Adams, A., 2018 Measuring Fashion: Insights from the Environmental Impact of the Global Apparel and Footwear Industries Quantis
  5. 2018, Putting the Brakes on Fast Fashion United Nations Environment Programme
  6. Boucher, J. & Friot, D., 2017 Primary microplastics in the oceans International Union for Conservation of Nature
  7. 2012, Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2012 United States Environmental Protection Agency

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