Reviews of BBC 1 'Fashions Dirty Secrets'

Reviews of BBC 1 'Fashions Dirty Secrets'

10th October 2018

Congratulations to BBC One commissioners, and to Ted Oakes for putting this very important  environmental issue in the spotlight!   Certainly makes you think!

Read the reviews below.

NHN Review

This is Oak Island Films' first commission, and Ted and his team have hit the ground running. When Ted mentioned he was making a documentary with Stacey Dooley to me in January, I'd hardly heard of her - now she's a household name, strutting her stuff on the Strictly Come Dance Floor.  This is a great piece of environmental investigative journalism - and Stacey is charming in her delivery. She has a 'tongue in cheek' innocence when posing the killer questions that reminds me of  Louis Theroux. Perhaps the most shocking scene in the film, from an environmental perspective, was the sight of the Aral Sea - now a windblown desert - whose waters have been diverted to grow the cotton to supply the textile industry. This was a powerful and well constructed documentary - with an important message at its core, and a positive and influential ending. Unable to get access to the bosses at Primark or Top Shop, or to talk to Michael Gove, she takes a 'bottom up' approach and asks the Facebook fashion 'influencers' to drive the change. Well worth catching up on. Well done ! 




She might currently be dancing and smiling her way into the nation’s hearts on Strictly Come Dancing, but away from the sparkles and glitter Stacey Dooley is a tenacious investigative journalist with a winning ability to make complicated stories understandable and accessible.

Her latest film, Fashion’s Dirty Secrets, was a case in point. We live in an age of fast fashion where popular Instagram influencers record their “hauls” online to an appreciative audiences and shops churn over collections faster than you can say “what I wore”. Yet what is the real cost of a £20 dress? Dooley’s answer was a pretty devastating one. She began the film by travelling to the Aral Sea, which lies between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Or rather what used to be the Aral Sea. These days the area is a dusty, water-free plain, the water having been diverted to Uzbekistan’s cotton fields to ensure that we can buy countless cheap jeans. “Did I know that cotton was capable of this? Course I didn’t,” said Dooley, speaking for heedless consumers across the globe. Stacey Dooley in Carnaby Street, London (Hello Halo) Back in the UK, Dooley tried highlight the issue, putting on a demonstration for the people of Glasgow to show just how much water goes into making a pair of jeans, and trying to talk to various fashion companies about how we could become more ethical consumers. It was here that her film really came alive as everyone from Asos to Primark weaselled out of a meeting, to Dooley’s growing despair. She tried door-stepping them at industry events and contacting the government, who churned out the standard perfunctory response, before trying her hand with the online influencers themselves. There was no doubt that the likes of fashion writer Susie Lau and lifestyle vlogger Niomi Smart were genuinely shocked by Dooley’s findings: “We don’t want to be promoting certain brands or fast fashion knowing this is going on,” said Smart, who later put her money where her mouth was by posting about ethical fashion and trying to change her shopping habits. Will her audience join her on her journey? After watching this smart, informative film, I can hope that the answer is yes.



The Times 

With her disarming ordinariness, Stacey Dooley got to the bottom of one of the world’s biggest polluters — our clothes

Fashion’s Dirty Secrets: Stacey Dooley Investigates 


There is an ever-so-slight irony in Stacey Dooley fronting Fashion’s Dirty Secrets, about how clothing is wrecking the planet when she’s appearing on Strictly Come Dancing, a show that ploughs through enough cerise tulle, glittered chiffon and sequinned frocks to sink a frigate. But it’s facetious to labour this. Dooley was talking about cheap, fast fashion, £3 “look and chuck” consumerism, and I’m sure the BBC recycles those ballroom dresses (doesn’t it?).

Plus I’ll say this: Dooley does her job well. Some of what she revealed was jaw-dropping. Can it really take 25,000 litres of water to produce one pair of jeans and a few crap tops like that shopper had in her (plastic) carrier bag? Like Dooley I had no idea that cotton was such a voracious planet rapist, using more water and chemicals than any other fabric. It’s basically ebola in T-shirt form. Now the Aral Sea has shrunk to the size of a walnut because the rivers have been diverted to feed monster cotton plants. Camels walk on the seabed.

Why are people largely unaware of these outrages as we cheer ourselves with a Primark onesie? Worse is the dye and chemicals pumped into the Citarum River in Indonesia by the textile factories and was a fizzing soup of dead rats and birds. But never mind, eh? Our leggings costs £3.99 rather than £4.99: hurrah!


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