Across the Western World these days, in the United Kingdom, throughout Europe and in the United States, consumers are being exposed to ‘throw-away’ fashion — clothes that don’t last or hold their shape beyond a few washings.
Manufacturers say people buy cheap fashion because they tire of clothes easily and enjoy buying more. Lower cost clothing, retailers say, lets fashion-conscious buyers change clothes frequently and sport the most current fashions.
Fact is: Manufacturers promote ‘throw-away’ because it’s lucrative. And, people end up paying more for such fashion in the long run because so much more consumption is required to maintain a wardrobe. Reality is: Industry has quadrupled its profits by forcing consumers to buy new clothes that wear out so quickly.
The Telegraph’s Environmental Correspondent Louise Gray stated, “In an age of ‘fast fashion,’ 1.5 million tons of clothes and textiles go straight into landfill sites in Britain every year…. 9,513 garments were thrown into landfill every five minutes, totaling one billion items per year and the equivalent of one in four garments sold. While every other type of landfill waste is reducing, textiles has risen.”
The Ethical Fashion Option
Begin thinking about/taking inventory of specific articles of clothing you need and desire to wear. Set a budget based on ‘fair trade’ prices. Seriously consider what’s involved in the design of a shirt, skirt, pair of trousers, suit or dress. Consider what it realistically costs to create patterns, choose decent fabrics that wear well, and then, sew and hand-stitch final parts of a garment. Based on your thoughts and research, designate a budget allowing you to purchase prime quality pieces of clothing you’ll truly enjoy, and that will last and win you many compliments each time you wear them.
Time to shop! If you head to the Mall, look for shops or stores that actually explain their values or display their ‘ethos.’ If you can’t find them at your Mall, try a web search for local shops offering: ethical; fair-trade; hand-crafted; locally-designed; eco; vegan-friendly; animal-friendly; human-friendly; vegetable-dyed; grassroots fashion; non-profit; and/or women’s projects. Jo’el Worldwear will offer all of these types of fashions and will tell our designers’ stories when we go web-public end-of-May.
Many accessories, handbags and scarves are highly affordable, while some fair-trade clothing (not all) is more expensive due to the fact that its specially-designed and hand-crafted (labor-intensive). Making ethical fashion choices though, provides you beautiful, high-quality fashion that tells an amazing story! Plus, your new fashion sense will protect the interests of talented designers and artisans, and the rights of many textile workers who produce what we wear. Remember the people behind the clothes and honor them by purchasing ethical fair trade clothing and accessories. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the fashion too.
Western manufacturers/retailers need to be held accountable for conditions like that of the Bangladesh factory where more than 2,000 people were injured and 400 were killed last week. Do we really believe people should be thrown away as easily as old clothes? Buy ethical.
Enjoy shopping…. Brenda Steele MacCrimmon, President of Jo’el Worldwear