The fashion industry is filled with flaws. In publishing, women are pitted against each other. Everyone is considered a bossy b*tch just for being assertive. Models are starved to fit in sample dresses. Women are presented as inhumanly thin because of editing tools. But worst of all isn’t what you see in the photographs but the story behind your everyday looks.
Ordinary people wear ordinary clothes. When shopping, you look for comfortable, chic shirts and shorts. You have the stores you prefer because of the clothing style and the price. For some it seems mind-blowing to pay over $50 for a t-shirt, for others the brand says it all. Either way, most people cannot afford to wear Dior Haute Couture hand sewn dresses from Paris, on a daily basis. Just about everyone buys Fast Fashion from low scale brands like Marshall’s or up scale like Neiman Marcus.
Most of the clothes you buy were made in poor conditions. Things in your everyday life have labels that say Made In __ normally it’s somewhere in Asia. Labor is much cheaper there thus brands can make more money. The factory workers work for hours on end making less than one dollar a day. The conditions are hazardous: maybe you have heard of the factory in Bangladesh that collapsed and killed thousands.
It is expensive to shop at eco-friendly brands. Companies make money from sales: the cost to make each product becomes very low when you exploit employees in Asia, then you have a margin of profit. Companies never sell each item for the same price it makes to produce because otherwise they make no profit. So by default, when you decide to produce in ethical factories: the rent is higher (because working conditions are safer), the price to pay employees is higher, thus the cost to make the product is higher (even if you use the same fabric and materials). Of course, each company wants to profit so the margin might stay the same as it was before BUT the item gets sold at a higher price.
But because of technology and online shopping, you do not need to spend as much. This might sound crazy (uh Shipping & Handling is expensive!!). Hear me out, most ethical brands don’t have brick-ams-mortar stores because they are small companies. Instead they only retail online. This way, the price of each item is not inflated by department stores, for example, and the fees of having more employees and rent for a shop is not factored into the price. Also you become more savvy and eco-friendly because the fees of transportation all the way to the stores are not factored in AND you are not polluting the earth as much. (It also gives you a reason not to drive your car to the shopping mall and pay for gas…) You save all this hidden money and help workers.
I know of some amazing brands like Everlane and People Tree. Definitely check them out because their clothes are super cute!!
I decided to write this article because my friend Thaisa created a website about slavery in the fashion industry. I don’t give much information about statistics but her site will truly open your eyes. https://beyondourwardrobe.wixsite.com/stopslavery
I know I write a lot about fast fashion and I wear that sort of clothing but I feel like more people should learn more about the truth behind it. Now I look more at brands I can trust and try to learn more about the brands I buy most of my stuff from.