Recently I watched a documentary on Netflix called The True Cost. It showed an insight into the ethics of clothing manufacturing and how it really is affecting the world globally, from the cotton pickers, to the garment workers, right to the children from places such as India.
The reason I’m writing about this is because it was so eye opening. I feel like most people have a fair idea that most of which we buy is not ethical, but have really no clue what actually goes on behind the scene to make it so. I for sure was ignorant to alot until I learned it through this documentary.
It shows some of the terrible conditions workers in places like India are forced to work in. They are just normal people but are expected to work long days for the likes of $3 a day, get beaten, don’t have any benefits, pensions, just no rights.
It’s so crazy to think of the poor workers suffering for our clothing. Is my €5 t-shirt really worth causing somebody physical and emotional distress. How is it fair that I can dress nice thanks to these people, yet they can’t afford to dress themselves. HOW is that fair? The fashion industry is a billion dollar industry, with thanks to these people so how are they left without a penny and the big corporations are the ones profiting.
Not only that, they show right back to the cotton fields stating that 250,000 Indian cotton farmers killed themselves in the last 15years due to pressures of the demand. That’s 16,000 A YEAR!! All down to the constant demands of productions, and seeking ways for genetically modified seeds.
Also we see a leather production factory in Kanpur, India, excrete toxic waste water which leads out onto streams to farming and drinking water. It’s so highly contaminated, people’s health and agriculture is affected. People are seriously sick because of this polluted water yet there’s nothing being done about it.
Fashion is the second largest polluter in the world after oil.
I feel sick the thought of the amount of clothes I’ve bought, worn once and threw out. We have yearning for the new. Not only do we want all the new shiny clothes but we want them now! We don’t think about the effect that has on the world. Which is fair. I didn’t up until now. This need for new clothes constantly is so unhealthy and frankly, a waste of fucking money. I feel like a lot of us admit to buying too much, so why not just rain that in a bit.
I have relief knowing my carbon footprint is slightly decreased by the fact I do shop second hand and vintage. This is something I push quite alot.
As I’m aware of the issues now I feel I will struggle. As a fashion blogger or Influencer, or whatever you want to call me, most people who follow those like me, want to see new clothes, new trends, new styles. I struggle to keep up with this as it is. I’m just a normal gal, working retail, who’s saving to buy a house. How can I afford to keep up with the never ending trends AND think ethical? Will my following decline if I’m not seen to wear the newest pieces? Should I care? Working in this industry it’s really difficult as of the expectations on us. Am I really a fashion blogger if I don’t buy new clothes often?
I would like to learn more about ethics in fashion and sustainability. I feel we as people need to be made aware of the issues, I mean truly aware. The docu was just a small insight into what goes on. Now that I have the knowledge I can decide what actions to take, something we all need to consider. It’s not just some ‘hippie talk’ all of this environmentally aware chat, it’s real shit. It’s happening to our planet and our people and it’s really upsetting. If we can do something about it, even small, then why not?
Though not all high street retailers are fully ethical, they do have some lines that are sustainable such as Zara ‘Join Life’ and H&M ‘Conscious Collection’. Here is something I’ve seen online to help.
I also found an app that allows you to search brands and see where they stand ethically, which would be useful to have if you want to start taking it seriously. Search it here.
I love nothing more than shopping. Half of the time I’m not sure it’s the thrill of the clothes or just actually buying that gives me adrenaline. I’m not going to sit here and say I’m now only shopping ethical brands, no more of my fave high street retailers, realistically that won’t happen. I’m not boycotting any brands. I won’t stop browsing my fave shops because I’d honestly find it very hard. Having researched ethical brands, it’s just not in my price point which I expected. So, for me I have to think of alternatives. What I know I can do is at the very least STOP SHOPPING SO MUCH. I have more than what I need ( hard to admit) I’ll only buy something if I really love it and feel I’ll get loads of wear out of it, regardless of where it’s from. A lot of what own I don’t love, so I’m hardly going to wear them much. I already can’t wait to do a wardrobe clear out. These are just the small steps I’m willing to take.
What will you do?…..