Check out our latest blog, 'The Art of Caring about who Made it', as part of our #BeTheChange series . Are you a #ConsciousConsumer? Do you know and care about who has made the clothes you wear? Does the yoga apparel community care?
Should We Even Care Where Our Clothes Come From
The Art of Caring About Who Made it
“It’s not enough for me anymore that it’s a beautiful item. I want to know who made it and where it came from” -Emma Watson-
Is it true that consumers of fast fashion don’t care where their clothes come from or who made them? Can their behaviour be changed, or are they only motivated by the price tag? And because they’ll never really care, no meaningful impact will be made to how the fashion industry operates?
So as the conscious consumer, are our efforts futile, that nothing we do will ever make a difference, should we also abandon and become increasingly disconnected from the people who make our clothing? There are roughly 40 million garment workers in the world today; many of whom do not share the same rights or protections that we take for granted. They are some of the lowest paid workers in the world and roughly 80% of all garment workers are women. The human impact of the garment industry is too big to ignore, as we continue to see the exploitation of cheap labour and the violation of worker’s, women’s, and human rights in many of these garment producing countries across the world.
With Global fashion brands becoming bigger than ever before and with annual revenues in the billions, these brands are continuing to profit hugely from their use of cheap labour in foreign countries. They also represent a great opportunity for change, to use their influence to benefit their workers, but as consumers we need to tell them what we want them to do, and we do that by exercising our purchasing power and buying ethical. Reading some of the ethical statements on their websites, it certainly sounds like they are doing great work in eradicating modern slavery as well as much more, but is any of it worth the internet page that its displayed on?.
So where are the ethical fashion brands? New, informed and sustainable fashion brands are emerging every day, but they struggle to share the spotlight against the huge advertising budgets available to the Global fashion brands. This is where the consumer must be savvy and more informed. Information needs to be more accessible, convenient, simple and clear. Behaviour change comes faster when it's easy. That's not a criticism; it's a fact, thorough, detailed information that they could digest in 30 seconds or less. Even when the information exists, most people don't have the time to read a 150 page sustainability report.
Check out People Tree they are doing some great work
Most consumers are value-driven but time poor. If we want fast fashion consumers to make a change in how they shop, they need information that is as valid and accurate as it is convenient and simple. Something like the traffic light system for food.
So I will finally leave you with what can we do? The answer like most answers is simple: shop less, buy ethical, wear everything at least 50 times (read my blog Desire, the art of creating our own suffering), invest in statement pieces, buy second hand, and repair before throwing away. These are all very good solutions, but for lovers of fast fashion, they are not easy to action.
As customers in an increasingly disconnected world, it is important that we feel connected to the workers who make our clothes, as well as inform brands that we care about these people and their voices.
Some excellent material to watch - True Cost of Fashion