If you do one thing today, make it watching this video:
Eye opening stuff. Except for the end - that was tacky.
Last week marked the 3rd anniversary since the Rana Garment Factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 1133 garment workers died in that collapse, with over 2500 others injured in the process. It is the most fatal disaster brought on by fast fashion to date. Unfortunately it's far from the only mass loss of life associated with fast fashion.
Much hurt came of that building's collapse (read: why do supermarkets sell jeans?) but thankfully it was not in vain. There is today the biggest unified movement on behalf of fair fashion that we've ever seen, centered around Fashion Revolution Day which occurred just last week.
The movement has shone a spotlight otherwise missing on an industry that often lacks scruples. Below we've put together 4 simple steps of how you, even on a tight budget, can ensure it doesn't happen again.
I'm going to be honest here.
We've built a fashion business on the foundations of social good and equality. Our supply chain is designed to take care of every stakeholder in the making of our products - from the farmers growing our organic cotton to you, our end consumers wearing our products.
The result is a premium product and we know it's not within everyone's budget. For example, our headbands - the best headbands in the world, we should add - retail between $17 and $30, well above the prices of most other headbands on the market.
We are a young family (our daughter is now 6 months old) and money is tight for us. Building a business is an incredibly expensive endeavor - just as is living on the west coast of Canada (Vancouver was recently ranked the 2nd most unaffordable city to call home in the world).
Because of this, we get it that folks will often opt for cheaper alternatives. At the end of the day, fashion is a luxury and life can be expensive.
That said, it's important to us that you know that our headbands - all our products for that matter - are priced fairly. They're so much more than good-looking pieces of sewn fabric - and they are mighty good looking. Here's why:
- We choose to work with small, family-operated USA businesses
- We pay fair wages to USA garment workers
- We use organic cotton, rather than conventional, pesticide-heavy cotton (the most sprayed crop on earth - making fashion the world's 2nd most polluting industry)
- We use 100% biodegradable or recycled shipping bags
- We give back to charity
Fashion companies exist along a continuum from good to bad. Some are earnestly trying to do good by others; others are purely trying to make a buck, often at the expense of others. There are plenty in between.
As customers, we have more choice than you might think, even when budgets are tight. Here are 4 tips we follow, as a family on a budget, when making our fashion purchasing decisions:
- Educate yourself. Google "Ethics + (favorite brand)" and see what comes up. The old adage holds true: if there's smoke, there's fire. Choose your fashion responsibly. Among fast fashion producers there are good guys and bad guys. Support the good guys.
- Spread the word. Whether eco fashion is in your budget or not, it still helps tremendously to spread the word on what you've learnt about fast fashion (watch that video above again for a refresher). By calling out the worst of the worst on social media, to friends, to family, we force the hand of those worst offenders to make changes. The result to you may be a few dollars more for a garment, but the result to a garment worker could be life and death.
- Quality over quantity. OK, I know this was the budget option but what if instead of 4 cheap, questionably-made, landfill-filling hair tie packs you bought 1 pack of the world's only organic cotton, ethically made, headache-free, long-lasting LILA Hair Ties? Or instead of 5 "disposable" $40 summer dresses from fast fashion you bought one beautiful, locally-made, locally-designed summer dress from an eco-fashion designer (shout out to our friend Nicole Bridger). There are thousands upon thousands of companies out there doing fashion right so give'em a search and support the future you want to see in this world.
- Shop thrift. It's estimated that 68lbs of clothing and textiles are THROWN IN THE GARBAGE every year by Americans. That's an absolutely crazy number and doesn't account for the hundreds of thousands of garments that get worn just once before ending up in a thrift store. Heed Macklemore's advice and: "No for real - ask your grandpa - can I have his hand-me-downs?"
There are surely many other ways to shop consciously while on a budget. If you've got a good tip, let us know in the comments below.
Thanks yorlye (like kooshoo, a Norfolk word. It means everyone).