There's a movement going on. A movement within the fashion industry where people have collectively chosen to take a stand against big fast fashion brands and ask the million dollar question: Who made my clothes?
This is a revolution synonymous with protecting the environment, as well as the people whose literal, blood, sweat, and tears go into making our garments.
“who made my clothes?”
In August 2014, a garment factory in Rana Plaza collapsed, killing more than 1,000 garment workers. Workers who had families, friends, children, partners. 1,000 people is far too many people to lose in one day, or in general for that matter.
Let me first just say that I watched a documentary titled “The True Cost,” which immediately opened my eyes to the downside of the fashion industry. Garment workers can barely afford to keep a roof over their heads, merely because they are paid very little to produce clothing for brands who in turn make a lot of money selling that product to us. The workers who make the clothes for our favorite fast fashion brands are treated extremely inhumanely. They are beaten when they demand higher pay, and are killed in the wake of creating clothes cheaply for us. Someone needed to take a stand, and I am so glad the fashion revolution has begun.
But there's one thing that kept troubling me, as a person who lives in The States, and who is presumably afforded the luxury of the American Dream, I wanted to help. But, how could I?
Thankfully, there are little steps that are easier to take than you think.
“As a person who lives in The States, and who is presumably afforded the luxury of the American Dream, I wanted to help. But, how could I?”
Love What You’ve Got
First off, you can start by appreciating the clothes that are already in your closets. Fast fashion brands, or not. Keeping your clothes, and prolonging the lives of your pieces significantly lessens the environmental impact because your clothes aren't being thrown out. We're so often swayed into believing that what we see in stores and on models is the key to our happiness. Unfortunately in no time at all the next best thing is going to be released. It's better (for your wallet and the environment) to find true, personal style.
Many believe that a conscious solution to getting rid of your unwanted clothes is to donate them. Sadly, that could not be farther from the truth. Only a record ten percent of clothes donated to thrift shops actually make it into the store, while the rest of our unwanted goods get shipped and dumped in third world countries.
Instead Clothing Swap and an Online Shop
A great way to help out the environment is to host clothing swaps with your friends! Grab a glass of wine, throw on some tunes, and bring out the clothes. You can grab a fun piece from your friend, while giving an old garment in your closet a new home.
If that's not up your alley then you could always approach the situation the old fashioned way of selling your unwanted clothes in a yard sale, or selling them online. Either way, your old item becomes someone’s new loved treasure.
Eco Friendly and Ethical
Also, if you would like to revamp your wardrobe with some new ethical/sustainable pieces, there are brands who cater to your aesthetic, treat their workers fairly, use biodegradable fabrics, and work in excellent factory conditions. Finding these brands, and knowing that you are not only going to save money in the long-run, but are also helping to support worker’s lives and give back to the earth, is all part of the fun!