THERE IS NO BEAUTY IN THE FINEST CLOTH IF IT MAKES HUNGER AND UNHAPPINESS. MAHATMA GHANDI
I have recently been taken with the Adam Ruins Everything movement – first the videos, now the podcast. I love that he has a fresh take on social injustice and explaining the ills of the world in a logical, albeit tragic, way. This is why I would like to bring to your attention his latest podcast episode: “Why Fast Fashion Fails Us.” I am primarily concerned with the waste stream as it relates to the building industry and my own consumption, and the latter is where this fits in. I have been learning so much lately about the clothing industry and really taking the time to consider my impact on the clothing industry.
A negative impact could be: purchasing clothing from a brand that does not feel responsible for the factories they contract out in a major city within a developing nation. This city, after all, has much more relaxed labor and building laws, that is how it gets away with such cheap rates to stay competitive. The workers are paid in a way that does not provide a living wage and with little benefits. The clothing dye is produced in a rural area where environmental policy is not enforced, and the chemicals are purged to the local water stream – a vital part of life for local villagers. And finally, the cotton comes from poor Indian farmers – this part is so tragically true, and I won’t get into details, but you can find the info here and here.
And imagine a positive impact: still a globalized market, but an American-run brand has a strong relationship and commitment to a factory where workers are treated fairly and have healthy working conditions. The dyes are natural or nonexistent. The consumers are aware of the brand’s commitment to quality and empowerment, and keep them accountable.
Which product would you like to purchase?
Over the last several months I have gotten into the ethical fashion movement, which is another reason why I enjoyed Adam’s podcast. The movement basically says the better product is certainly #2 – there is no doubt! The world would be a better place if consumers expected this rather than the race to the bottom-scenario of garment #1.
Here is a website that will share some good ethical fashion brands with you.
Lastly, here is a link to the documentary The True Cost, about the fashion industry and basically everything discussed above, but by experts and very well made. It’s currently available on Netflix (bonus!).
Check my Instagram soon, I just made a purchase from Pact Organic and am looking forward to my spring season of ethical fashion!