This will be a brief post, as I am typing it out on my tiny phone keyboard while my boyfriend waits for me to help him with gardening. Today is Fashion Revolution day, a tradition started to raise awareness of disgraceful practices in the garment factories around the world.
You think you’re getting fine craftsmanship when you buy your Michael Kors from Macy’s? You’re not. you’re paying for the design and maybe the fabric, because the clothes are most likely made in a sweatshop by a machine, not skilled seamstresses. The problem with the fashion industry is that it fabricates unnecessary need for new clothes via trends that change year to year. This creates a constant demand for “fast fashion” garments that are made cheaply and are all-but disposable. I am not arguing against fashion, I’m arguing for style.
Well-made garments that were made by artisans in small batches and with no environmental impact are typically pretty cool. They will be expensive. They will not be trendy. However, if you were to develop a cohesive style, you would not need to buy a new coat each winter; your go-to pea coat will last for decades and looks wonderful on you. It’s quality versus quantity.
I say we should not only ask who made our clothes but HOW they were made as well. Many companies have a history of dumping toxic dyes into the ocean. This kills the wildlife and sometimes deprives surrounding villages of drinkable water.
I don’t put the blame on consumers, entirely. Many of us can’t afford fancy clothes most of the time. Sometimes, you just have to go to the Gap and get a white tee shirt because you’re a poor college student who needs basics. Instead, let’s all blame the companies who take advantage of cheap labor and treat the earth as their dumping ground. We can’t always buy hand made socks, but we can always put pressure on law makers and company owners to stop the exploitation.
I challenge you, my readers (PS: thanks for doing so) to research the origins of your three favorite items of clothing and find out who made it and what the human and environmental costs were. Was it worth it? Will you seek out more ethically sourced clothes? Will you picket in front of a Wallmart? Let me know!