Is the sky turning millennium pink or is that just the latest marketing for the Barbie movie?

The box office sensation, Barbie, was an unsurprising success, backed by a marketing budget that would have Elon Musk squeezing his wallet. But beyond the billboards, star studded album soundtrack and stellar cast, the movie would’ve still been a smash hit without bringing fast fashion into play.

Boohoo, Zara, Wrangler, Vans, Aldo, Crocs, GAP, Primark … what do they all have in common? Well just like the Barbie doll, they’ve been wrapped up in pink, coated in plastic and slapped with the Mattel logo. Globally, Barbie’s limited edition retail collaborations have contributed millions of pounds to the pockets of fast fashion retailers, imagine the good that could have been achieved in the charity retail sector with those funds.

But it’s not just Barbie, think about all those iridescent silver and mirrored outfits flung to the side after Beyonce’s Renaissance tour or the unimaginatively pre-bought and one-time use Halloween costumes discarded as soon as the clock strikes midnight.

We have enough clothes on this planet right now to dress the next six generations (and that includes clothes for your every fancy dress need). To put that in perspective, in September 2023 TRAID alone saved 387kgs of clothing from landfill, that’s equivalent to the weight of 72 elephants! But as a single charity across the world, that number is a drop in the ocean.

It’s time to stop the culture of hyper consumerism and impulsive purchases. Limited edition collections may have an allure of exclusivity, but their impact lasts a lifetime, with materials like polyester taking over 200 years to decompose. But it’s not just our environment at risk, it’s the people behind our clothes too. While the Barbie movie prides itself on modern day feminism, the marketing team have clearly forgotten about the female garment workers at the core of these fast fashion collaborations, who are working in unsafe conditions and are severely underpaid.

So, what’s the solution? You can still dress to impress without having FOMO by choosing to shop secondhand as well as up-cycle and re-wear the clothes already in your wardrobe. You may have spotted that some of the TRAID retail teams curated their own secondhand ‘Barbiecore’ displays, proving that while life in secondhand polyester pink may be a bit sweaty, it’s the one of best ways to have fun with fashion, hit the trends and keep clothes out of landfill. Turn your back on fast fashion and shop with compassion for people and the planet.