Image: Selfridges Material World initiative. Watch the short clip here https://youtu.be/Ge75wDT_5Ik
I started caring about sustainable fashion because of my knowledge of climate change, but it doesn't stop there. A friend of mine asked me if he thought this jumper he just brought was good quality.
Me: ‘How much was it?’
I didn’t want to tell him, no, because he was proud of his jumper and the bargain, of his great choice of what to spend his money on. But, he asked, and he genuinely wanted to know..
No, Paul, I'm afraid it's definitely not good quality considering you brought it from a main stream brand, for very little money. That's because they have cut corners. It's being sold cheaper than what it costs to make. Consider the fibre, the energy and water used for making that into fabric, washing it, dying it, cutting into panels, sewing, the wages, machinery and international transport.
‘So why can, or why do they do that?’
They are a business driven by only profit, selling tens of thousands of items to make a huge profit and therefore cut costs. Quality of fibre doesn’t need to be good because it’s not that easy to tell and instead driven by the price the customers will be inspired by - ‘a great deal’. What’s even more shameful and in the retailer's benefit is that when the jumper looks worn out, we will disregard it and because it didn’t cost much, we won’t care. They (the majority of high street fashion) are playing us. They are taking our money and laughing at our gullibility. These brands and retailers spend more money on advertising than they do on their product's manufacture, they talk us into loving them and make it incredibly easy to buy.
Have we lost the value of clothing? Is it a forgotten fact that a piece of clothing can last a lifetime? That a piece of clothing is a valued belonging, an asset.
In summary, buying these cheap, mass produced clothes is not just wasting
our own money but funding the suffering of children and adults through worker exploitation. There is a demand for cheap clothing now, so factories are pressured to cut costs, most often, labour costs. Although I believe it is the brand’s responsibly to manufacture conscientiously; to make sure their clothing is not causing suffering or deaths, brands are driven by their markets, and if we stop buying or choose alternative options, they will be forced to care more.
How does this effect your buying decisions? Feel stuck as what to buy and where to shop? Resonate picks to your rescue. Above all just try. We can’t fix this in an instance but making one better choice creates disruptive ripples in the sea of conventional fashion.
Together we can make waves.
I’ll write more on what fabrics are best to buy and what brands offer clothing that gives workers fair pay and causes no human or environmental suffering.
If you want to know more, check out:
-Watch https://youtu.be/Ge75wDT_5Ik - Selfridge’s Material World, they are taking big steps to promote awareness and change the fashion industry.
-Go to www.fashionrevolution.org
-Watch www.truecostmovie.com a recent and great film.