“Fashion’s Dirty Secrets”-The Sea That Can’t Be Seen.

It has been a hot minuet since the BBC brought us the release of  Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’: the latest documentary from the critically acclaimed documentary maker, journalist and MBE; Stacey Dooley.

Stacey Dooley
Photo Credit: Curtis Brown

Famed for her exploration into and the exposure of  tough to watch, hard hitting, real life situations such as child trafficking, paedophile and fighting on the front-line against ISIS, Stacey’s latest endeavour sees her uncover  the destructive consequences and aftermaths  caused by the global fashion Industry, the consequences and aftermaths that are being lived through by the very same who are keeping the money flowing into the fashion industry; the factory workers.

After its premiere on Monday 8th of October 2018, ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets‘ sent social media into a frenzy with celebrities and organisations everyone from ourselves to the wonderful Eco-Age showing support and love for the documentary and the cause it is helping us to fight against.


The eye-opening documentary visits and highlights the detrimental effects the fashion industry has had on Kazakhstan. After driving through the desert for over 4 hours, Stacey Dooley stepped foot on the seemingly common desert. But the desert was anything but common. Stacey shockingly revealed that actually she should have been 5 ft under the water as the place she stood was once the middle of the Aral Sea– a 68 million square metre volume of fresh water that was previously a haven for fish, wildlife and known for its turquoise waters. However now in 2018, as Stacey stood on the centre of the sea bed, nothing but dust, sand and camels could be seen to surround her.

Stacey Dooley standing on the Aral Sea
Photo Credit: BBC

As shocking as it is, the newly formed desert is not a result of climate change, instead it is a direct result of the harm that is caused by the global fashion industry, but more notoriously it is a direct consequence of the recent phenomenon of Fast Fashion. The Aral Sea is a once living testimony to all of our contributions to the ongoing issue and although it has been shrinking since the 1960’s, the Aral sea has not been drying up; It is literally draining out.

The Aral Sea is also being prevented from refilling from the mountains in the surrounding are with one of the most prevailing rivers that fed it – the Amu Darya-  being diverted to local cotton farms in order to facilitate the growth of cotton in order to provide us with the next weeks trendy clothing.

Speaking to Stacey, Lucy Seigle, a journalist specializing in environmental issues explains:“Fast fashion lures us into buying more clothes than we need, It’s a production system that brings us clothes at intense volume.”

Journalist: Lucy Seigle: (Twitter.com)

“Globally, we’re producing over 100 billion new garments from new fibres every single year, and the planet cannot sustain that,” explained Lucy.

But just how aware of this issue are we? Well, according to Stacey’s high street experiment, it is as clear as the Arab Sea once was that most high street shoppers genuinely have no clue just how damaging their Saturday shopping habits can be.

The experiment was simple, Stacey wanted to know how polluting people think the fashion industry is. To do this Stacey presented a set of shoppers with 6 figures that represented different industry sectors (Beef, coal & oil, tourism, fracking, transport and fashion) and she then invited shoppers to rank them in the order that they think is the most environmentally damaging. The result was expectantly shocking with most people ranking the fashion industry the least polluting.

“I don’t think they even thought or recognised that fashion could be a polluter,” Stacey says to the camera after the experiment.

And after another experiment that looks at the water usage within the production of jeans further into the episode, Stacey thoughtfully remarks that “It’s not that people don’t care, it’s that we don’t know. We are not informed.”

Watch Stacey’s Latest documentary  “Fashion’s Dirty Secrets” on the BBC iPlayer now.

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