Have you heard the expression fast fashion?
Maybe you've seen the trailer for The True Cost documentary. Perhaps you heard that there was some controversy about Beyonce and the workers who make her clothing line in Sri Lanka. Or maybe this is the first time you have considered how your clothes were made.
The truth is we all wear clothes every day (hopefully). Every garment we put on is either made ethically or is made in conditions that are less than ideal.
The term "fast fashion" was coined in the early 2000's to describe exactly that- fashion that is created very quickly.
Here's how it works:
1. In the fashion industry, new styles are "released" each year at Fashion Week in major cities like New York and Milan.
2. These styles by the big names in fashion are just too pricey for the common consumer (you and me), so companies who can create similar looking pieces do so, as quickly and cheaply as possible.
3. This fashion that comes to us so rapidly and inexpensively also has the connotation of being "disposable." What is the lasting value of a shirt purchased for just $3.99 anyway?
4. Fast fashion has received a lot of criticism because its production contributes to unfair work conditions, environmental pollution, and shoddy workmanship.
How does this affect you?
"Our clothes have gone on a long journey before they hit store shelves, passing through the hands of cotton farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers, sewers and others. Approximately 75 million people work to make our clothes. 80% of them are women between the ages of 18 and 35.
However, the majority of the people who makes clothes for the global market live in poverty, unable to afford life’s basic necessities. Many are subject to exploitation; verbal and physical abuse, working in unsafe and dirty conditions, with very little pay."
These statistics are from Fashion Revolution, an organization committed to changing the entire fashion industry for good.
We encourage you to start by visiting their website.
There you will find resources for understanding the scope of the problem and how you can get involved in making a difference. Some of the ideas take just two minutes of your time!
It starts with you! Ask yourself: “Who made my clothes?” And then most importantly, ask the brands and retailers you buy from.