Let’s talk about the t-shirt you are wearing today. Let me guess, you probably got it on a sale with the amazing deal of 9,99 or 14,99 USD… Most probably it’s from Zara, Mango, Forever 21, H&M, Guess, or another street fashion store. But did you know that in 2 weeks this t-shirt will be out of fashion? Yes, if you wanna stay in fashion you will need to buy a new one in 14 days. It is so, because your favorite stores have as much as 52 micro-seasons within a year, and they change their collections almost every week. That’s why probably your t-shirt was on sale. The shop did not sell them in time, and as they have to make space for the new collection they are selling the items with the discount. I can hear you saying: “oh well better for me, I got it for cheaper”. But did you even wondered how these shops manage to sell items for so cheap and still make a profit. Well, everything comes with a price. If you look at the clothing labels you will see that most of the items have been produced in the undeveloped countries, such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Cambodia, and others.. People working in the factories are known be poorly waged, work in dangerous conditions and unfortunatelly child labor is still a common thing. There have been made many lawsuits against these companies, but as they use factories service through sub-contractors they refuse to take the responsibility for it. You must know that on April 24 , 2013, in Bangladesh, Rana Plaza building collapsed. It was a factory that produced clothing for the fashion retailers like Benetton, Mango, Primark, Walmart, Children Place, El Corte Ingles and others.. 1134 people died during the accident and approximately other 2500 have been severely injured. There have been similar tragedies. In Dhaka on November 24th, 2012, Tazreen factory have caught fire and taken lives of 117 people, severely injuring other 200. According to Forbes magazine In 2011, Zara was accused of allegedly accepting slave-labor working conditions supplanted by more than 30 of its outsourced plants running in Brazil. Bolivian immigrant workers “were caught in slave-like conditions in garment production for the Galicia-based company, which is part of the Inditex group.”
Another issue that we need to be aware is the cotton production. Most of cotton used in the fashion industry is not organic, which means that very dangerous pesticides and insecticides are used when growing it. Which create very dangerous conditions for the people working during the production. These chemicals can cause cancer, hormone defects and birth defects in animals and humans. Another thing is that cotton (organic or not) requires a huge amount water for it’s growth. The Aral sea is an example of it. It has devastatingly dried out because of the surrounding cotton farms.
You can see now, what is the actual price of that t-shirt you are wearing. You, as a consumer have to take a moral responsibility, and know that by buying your clothes from the fast fashion retailers you are also supporting their criminal business.
So what I can start doing differently?
My little green step is:
-I am not gonna buy clothing from the fast fashion retailers anymore. Overall, I will shop for clothing only if I actually need something, bye bye to the “I feel bored”, “These shoes make me happier”, “It looks cute” purchases..
-What I will do with the fast fashion retailers clothing that I already have? Well, I am not gonna through it away, as it would only create more trash. I will continue using the items I have, as my goal most importantly is to buy less, and to be more sustainable. The items that I don’t use I will donate.
-I will try to learn how to be more creative with my style, reusing the items that I already have.
-If I will decide that I need to buy something I will buy from small (preferably local) retailers that produce ethically made items that hopefully will be better quality and last longer.
I invite you to stop following the fashion, but follow your morals instead. It is the best original style that you can wear.