A young woman has slammed stores for charging high prices for products primarily made of polyester.
TikTok user Amber Sabri (@missambersabri) – the daughter of parents who work in the fashion industry – said that her education on fabric quality is “sabotaging” her shopping experience. In a video she posted on TikTok, she complained about the quality of clothing stocked in stores, “Everything single thing is polyester or acrylic and it’s trash.”
Sabri continued to provide examples of her shopping misadventures, in which she’d been stumped by the low quality of the products and the exorbitant prices. Having shopped at fast fashion juggernauts like Zara, she said that after learning the majority of their clothing items were made of polyester, she began to make it a point to avoid the store.
She had a similar experience with the ubiquitous Abercrombie & Fitch – which has undergone an inclusive rebranding after their sexy aughts vibe went out of style – when she found a chic “tweed” coat priced at $220 to find out that it was made of one hundred per cent polyester.
“I want good, cute clothes not at a crazy expensive price and I don’t want them to be polyester,” she stated. “Am I the problem?”
“Hate my mother for teaching me [about] fabrics,” she wrote in the caption. “Where do I shop now.”
The video has since received over 1.2 million views as of 20 November, with viewers relating to Sabri in the comment section.
“I feel you,” one person wrote. “Two of my family members studied fashion and textiles. I think polyester (derogatory) might’ve been one of my first words.”
“Once I became aware of polyester, I have been spiralling. I want a new bath robe, why are they all PLASTIC,” another added.
Someone else said, “The product name will say ‘Cotton overcoat’ and I look at fabric and it’s like ‘100% Polyester’ like ??? Hello??”
“I wouldn’t mind spending the money BUT at price point A&E, Zara, Aritzia already offer, the material SHOULD be quality,” another commenter wrote. “Corporate greed knows no bounds.”
Fueled by mass consumption, fast fashion conglomerates hiking up the price of polyester clothing comes as no surprise.
Polyester clothing has become widely mass-produced mainly due to how inexpensive the fabric is to make. A petroleum-derived synthetic, polyester was reportedly first invented in the 1930s and introduced in the 1940s to drive down the cost of manufacturing. Roger Lee – head of Hong Kong-based TAL Apparel – explained to NBC, “There isn’t so far (a) raw material that is as cheap and as versatile as polyester today.”
According to climate-focused fashion nonprofit Textile Exchange, an estimated 34 million tons of polyester were used in clothing in 2021. A lot of these clothes will likely end up in landfill, but because they’re made of polyester, they won’t biodegrade.
That’s not the only adverse effect polyester has on the environment. During a laundry cycle, polyester reportedly releases microplastics, which have been proven to be incredibly harmful to marine life. Although wastewater treatment plants do exist, textiles expert Karen Leonas told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2019 that they only filter out 67 to 95 per cent of microplastics, leaving 5 to 33 per cent left.