If you're in the sustainable fashion space, or even a fan of fast fashion, you may have seen recently that Missguided, the global fashion brand, got their own short documentary series. I saw many people I follow live tweeting about it, there have been lots of articles talking about how irresponsible it was, and I also sat my way though all 4 episodes and so I have many things to say about it. I have put off writing this post because the amount of hours I have already put into the video and watching the show was painful enough,. Then Youtube's copyright system got in the way of my video, but I am a finisher so here we are.

In this post I will be breaking the show down by topic, talking about all the problems I have with this show, and ultimately why it shouldn't have been made, if you want an episode by episode run down then I recommend my video which tackles things from that angle. 

The general premise of this show was to tell us all about how things happen at Missguided, well, at the Missguided head office in Manchester, empire of Fast Fashion, and "girl power". A bit like In The Style's Breaking Fashion. But with it being a fast fashion brand essentially talking about themselves and me being an ethical and sustainable fashion blogger there are many red flags in this show... and I have a lot to say about it!

The False "Girl Power" Empire

At the very start of the show it's very clear there's this "feminist slant" to everything, the voice over in the into proudly proclaims "it might be owned by a man but it's definitely us [women] who are running the show". There's talking of "getting our tits out, having a pint, doing what we want" and this feminist framing of the show is very clear. This show is definitely about the women in this business, it's about their fun and empowered lives working for Missguided, though only those in head office of course.

Every episode there are conversations about how amazing it is to have young, working class women running teams and making things happen. Wonderful things, powerful things, until you actually think about the women making the clothes. Women who are completely absent throughout this show.

There are some hands seen sewing in episode one, and in episode three we even get a brief look at a factory that's being audited. But we don't get to hear what the garment workers themselves have to say have to say, we don't get to hear how empowered they feel working for Missguided, we're not even told what goes into an audit. We just following compliance manager Ashish around this factory while everyone talks about how amazing Missguided are, and how they're making big changes. But where's the proof? 

I would love to have seen the same sort of interactions we see with the team in the offices with the garment workers, love to hear how they work, and how they feel. But I doubt that would make the brand seem like this amazing empowering girl boss empire that they're trying to make themselves out to be. So instead we only see these garment workers as a silent backdrop, apparent "proof" Missguided are changing. 

Not only this, but as Sophie Benson pointed out in her article for Dazed, almost all of those at the top in Missguided are men, leading to a 46% pay gap, and CEO Nitin himself says he's not a feminist. The framing in the show is very deliberate but it's ultimately white capitalist feminism "look at us doing what we want to, buy our stuff, we're empowering" without considering the bigger picture, and the marginalised women that these clothes are made by.


This talk of false feminism leads nicely onto talking more in depth about the ethics of Missugided. In episode three at the factory audit CEO Nitin talks about how they really didn't care that much about the ethics of their clothes in the past, but they're now trying to clean up their act. I respect his honesty, even if it was a very brief confession, but I still think they're trying to paint themselves as a much more ethical brand than they actually are here.

This lack of living wage is evident in this episode too, at one point a wage sheet is shown on the screen stating machinists are paid £8.21 an hour. A very deliberate shot to show us that they are in fact paying their workers above minimum wage, but this is still below living wage. If you've ever tried making your own clothing you'll know it's skilled work that that takes time to master (especially when making clothes at the speed fast fashion brands want them) and I don't think I'm alone in thinking that garment workers world over should be earning at least a living wage.

In episode one buyer shelly is cheered on after haggling the price per unit of a dress from £7.75 a unit to £7.40, with a zip costing 75p, fabric likely costing at least a few quid, that leaves very little for all those involved in the actual manufacturing of that garment to get paid from. Plus this dress sample was made in three days,  something this cheap and quick cannot be realistically done in a sustainable and ethical way. Contrast this to the team talking about how they're willing to pay Love Island star Molly Mae £350,000 plus an £80,000 car for a 6 month contract with them and you can see who Missguided priorities, who they're willing to spend the money on.

Showing me one factory in the UK that they're auditing does not convince me that they're suddenly an ethical brand, making the first steps on a journey doesn't mean you've reached the destination. And though I am happy to see that Missguided have joined other fashion brands in signing The Transparency Index, transparency is just the first step in making ethical and sustainable supply chains happen. Transparency ≠ ethics. Missguided still have a long way to go.

One of the few shots we get of garment workers during the show.

Fast Fashion Culture.

Throughout every episode there was a very clear "fast fast fast, now, now, now" attitude towards everything, samples made in 3 days, collections made in a couple of weeks, whole lines of clothing selling out in a day. The company runs on getting things viral, getting things faster, and making more money.

Treasure (senior creative, and arguably star of this show)  herself says "Bigger, Better, Quicker, Faster" and in every conversation and interview that staff members have there is an emphasis on speed, 

Whether it's a designer talking about a new collection, a creative director talking about a campaign, or buyers talking about logistics they are always talking about how fast they need things done, how things need to sell out and be a roaring success. There's no mention really of quality (until things go wrong or are sent back) and zero mention of those making the clothes. 

It's strange for me seeing Fast Fashion paraded around as this amazing positive thing. Nitin states in one episode that "all of fast fashion gets painted with this one brush" and that he thinks it's unfair. But I think all fast fashion is bad for the environment, and bad for the people making the clothes, there's different degrees of bad but I wouldn't say any of it is good. 


I have no time for the greenwashing in this show, the way they try to paint themselves as "doing their best" to go green whilst doing the minimum is almost laughable. They talk in one episode about how their team really care about the environment and that they're putting effort into changing things, such as cutting carbon by using British Manufacturers and changing their packaging. Two things which have absolutely tiny effects when you look at the volume of clothes that Missguided produce (about 3,000 different styles a month), the fact that most of their clothes are made using synthetic fibres, and when most of their  factories still rely on fossil fuels to run (fossil fuels being the main contributor to the climate crisis).

The very business model that Missguided run on is over consumption, having hundereds of new pieces added to their site every day, is inherently unsustainable. But CEO Nitin is sure to blame the consumer for this as if his team haven't spent all four episodes of this show talking about how important it was to get things out as quickly as possible, to beat their competitors, to get things going viral and sell out fast. That's all on the consumer? There's no possible way you could do things differently? 

Nitin then goes on to talk about fabric saying "we use fabric that's already been produced". I don't even know what he means by this statement. Missguided certainly aren't using deadstock, so just because you're not producing the fabric yourself doesn't mean there's no environmental cost to that. Embedded carbon is a thing! And you're here blaming the consumer for unsustainably buying your clothes but the fabric? That's not on you at all. It was a bizzare statement.

Screenshot from Missguided's body positive shoot.

Body positivity

In episode 2 Missguided tried to make it clear they were a brand that cared about inclusion, with Treasure and the creative team working with influencers to create a body positive campaign. The whole point of this campaign was to get it viral, and to get more sales, though there was a message about genuine empowerment in there somewhere.

Lots of women were interviewed and in the end they went with a group that had a whole two people who were not straight sized, sounds right for token inclusion to me. I mean I have nothing against the women in the campaign, they seemed lovely and behind the message, but Missguided can do better than that.

Plus in the very same episode they talk about their banned Ibiza advert which has absolutely no diversity in body type. Then in the next episode their Christmas campaign contains exactly one plus size model, again, nice token diversity.

In the last episode of the series they start talking about a plus size range, it's Black Friday and they want something that's going to bring more people into their site, so the answer (along with a ski wear range) is plus size clothing, and they're looking for the perfect model! 

But this was an issue too, the only reason one model didn't seem to be picked was because she had a "full bust" and they just weren't ready for that kind of "full curve". I mean, what? They want curve, but not "full curve" apparently? They act like plus size models are these elusive, difficult, expensive, and niche creatures when I really don't think that reflects reality. And the model they work with in the end is certainly surprised that she's the first plus model they've worked with.

This plus collection, unsurprisingly, is a roaring success, sales go up by 100%... but there are problems. A lot of the clothes are being sent back because they simply don't fit, with some pieces having an up to 70% return rate! It's at this point in the show that the team talk about getting plus size mannequins and fitting models, but they didn't do that before the collection was launched? So much for sustainability here, or forward planning it seems.

Looking on Missguided's social media it's clear to see they're really trying to be inclusive, a plus, but a lot of what they showed in this series was token diversity and a lack of knowledge on how to actually make clothes for plus size women. As a massive global brand, they can definitely do better than they are.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this show as a mess, I mean the set out of the episodes was all over the place (and made making this and the video a difficult task), and it really seemed like the team were trying hard to tick every box with sustainability, ethics, body positivity, feminism, etc. without actually putting any substance into any of the sections. Trying to convince people they're sustainable, ethical, amazing, without actually proving any of it substantially. 

Even with Treasure creative mastermind of Missguided, who I really warmed to and was featured every episode, they did the same thing over and over again. She was on a shoot, it was going wrong, but it worked out in the end! It all felt quite vapid, when I don't think it needed to be.

Lots of other journalists and bloggers have commented on how this show was irresponsible, and I wholeheartedly agree. With the current climate of the world shows painting the fast fashion industry, something that is responsible for massive amounts of pollution, waste, and exploitation, as an amazing girl boss empire is misleading and wrong. 

Though it does seem like Missguided are starting to take steps in the right direction they really gloss over their "dark past" in this show, say nothing about the negative things going on now, and paint them as a brand doing the most right when they're not. Missguided have a long way to go, and this fact was largely ignored.
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