This book changed me!
The author's premise is simple. Fashion and shopping have evolved to a place where stores like Forever 21, Zara, and H&M fill their racks with a constantly churning influx of poorly made, super-trendy items. Whereas shopping for clothes used to be seasonal, now it's become constant. Never-ending. There is always something new on the racks and it's so cheap you can shop every week! The clothes are almost considered "disposable"...wear 'em a few times, and toss them in the "Goodwill" pile.
But it feels good, right? What gal doesn't love to be able to pick up something cute and fresh for a bargain price? I do! Or that is to say, I did...
The thing is, this "fast fashion" thing is bad...really bad.
It's bad for the environment, bad for the economy, bad for the workers who make the clothes, and perhaps most importantly, bad for us psychologically...we're like junkies, looking for our next fashion "fix"!
The factories that make the textiles that make the clothes, mostly in China, but increasingly in even-poorer countries like Bangladesh, are completely unrestricted as they belch toxins and pollutants into the sky and pour poisons into the rivers. Most of these clothes are made of polyester and similar fabrics that are all petroleum products. The workers that make the clothes are paid, at best, less than the poverty-level limit set by the World Bank. There are fake "demonstration" factories, clean and cool, that are set up to fool visitors into thinking that the factories are all OK & safe, but they are not. In Bangladesh, hundreds of people have been killed in fires when there were no safety standards set in place. The factories are dangerous, sweltering, and the workers toil seven days a week for a measly wage to make that cute little Forever 21 top.
|factories in China are environmental nightmares!|
So this is all really depressing, right? I know! It's awful to hear and makes me want to shut my eyes and ears and block it out. But we can't stick our heads in the sand, ostrich-like, and ignore these horrible facts.
There are things we can do! First of all, get a copy of this book and read it! It's well-written and just detailed enough to get a very complex point across. You can buy it at Amazon: here
If you feel like diving in deeper, the author cites many references.
Next, change the way you shop!! I did!
Buying vintage? Fabulous! Thrift stores? Another great step in the right direction. Most importantly, though...buy *new* clothing SPARINGLY and WITH THOUGHT and buy only from responsible retailers! Support designers using sustainable materials. Seek out companies that manufacture responsibly.
$$$$$$$$ We have power...the power of our dollars $$$$$$
I'm not saying this is easy. It's not. I went to the mall the other day, mostly to escape the heat, and let me tell ya...the siren song of those stores was mighty hard to resist. I DID resist it, though...and I'm going to keep trying. Because the health of our country and our planet is more important than another cute dress.