Written by Colleen Rodericks for Poco Mono
Have you noticed that over the past decade, clothing has become cheaper and cheaper to buy? Sometimes, you can even get a shirt for $5! Do you ever wonder why that is?
Photo Credit: https://stocksnap.io/photo/ZN97ZIF3ZU
You can chalk that all up to the Fast Fashion industry. Fast Fashion is about profits. Producing cheap clothes by any means necessary to drive stock values up. This process has negative effects on the people (producing the clothes) and the environment.
How Do Cheap Clothes Affect People?
When it comes to running a business there are many constraints that can affect your profitability. One of them is the cost of labour.
To drive down costs, Fast Fashion houses contract their manufacturing to developing countries. Big businesses and the government’s of these developing countries see it as an opportunity – to create commerce, jobs and wealth. However, this model is flawed! The wealth is never distributed equitably. It creates a culture where exploiting people and the environment is an acceptable business practice.
The factories (sweatshops) lack safety standards (building codes) of first world countries. Workers are unfortunately exposed to hazardous conditions and potential toxins – in the field growing cotton, manufacturing, cutting, and sewing to the dyeing process. All this to encourage consumers to buy disposable, cheap clothing.
Workers aren’t protected. Without standardized labour laws, workers usually made up of women and sometimes children, are forced to work long hours at sub-par rates.
Women are separated from their families. In many instances, the women will leave their children behind with other caregivers and travel far distances to the jobs. Occasionally visiting their kids when they’re given a day off.
In some factories, children may also be employed – taking them away from the possibility of ever getting a proper education and turning them into lifelong workers.
Every stitch of cheap clothing we purchase perpetuates this vicious cycle.
Next time you are tempted by a $5 shirt, think about the true costs behind it. Fast fashion isn’t sustainable. By choosing to support slow fashion we can use fashion as a force for good!
Slow fashion is all about care and quality – instead of profits being the benchmark for success, it’s about crafting the best product possible. This means using high-quality raw materials that are ethically sourced. It encourages fair trade wages where people are paid equitably for their craft.
Next time you’re considering replacing a tattered piece of clothing (either for yourself or your kids) look for slow fashion brands. These clothes are designed to withstand trends, regular wear, and tear. By supporting these brands, you’re using fashion as a force for good and making the fast fashion companies less profitable in the process!
Authentic Tech Hippie, Natural Health & Fitness Enthusiast, Urban Farmer, DIYer, Mom, Wife & Dreamer