Three resources that will change your mind about the fast
How often do you buy new clothing? According to James Wallman, author of Stuffocation “it’s common for people to buy a new item of clothing every four to five days”. Six years ago I would have easily fit into this category, buying a few items a week, or for every occasion that arose. Last year I set myself a goal of purchasing only one item per month, by the end of the year I had gone close to six months without having bought any new clothing. I started spending a lot more time looking into where my clothes came from, what they were made of and the philosophies of the companies that made them. Why does it matter that we know who makes our clothes, how and with what? Whilst the reasons for this curiosity is different for everyone, personally I want to know that the people who made my clothes can afford to buy the clothes that they made, that they have made a decent and living wage while making said clothing. It matters to me that children are not involved in the making of my clothing and that the adults who make the clothes do so in safe environments. Coming from the Pacific, I care about the farming processes used to grow the cotton that my clothes are made from. While there have been significant changes in the fashion industry with more designers paying attention to the ethics of fashion, it can be quite daunting for the ordinary consumer to understand exactly what all the fuss is about. With all the information available I’ve narrowed down three resources that make a great start pointing to understanding the clothing and textile industry.
Book | Overdressed: The Shocking High Cost of Cheap Fashion – Elizabeth L. Cline
One of the most informative books that I’ve come across on the world of fast fashion and its consequences for the environment, our health, and finances. Cline found that half of the contents of our wardrobes are now made of plastic – in the form of polyester. While you might argue that plastic is recyclable, Cline argues that its production is not environmentally friendly or safe. Overdressed takes the reader from the decline of local manufacturing industries to the inner
workings of the fast fashion industry, the consequences of fast fashion and what becomes of our clothes once we’ve parted with them. Cline offers recommendations about what we as consumers can do to make a difference and what we need to know to make better choices for ourselves, our families and our environment. The book is written in a non-judgemental tone and begins with Cline confessing her own purchase of seven pairs of $7 shoes.
Documentary | The True Cost
The True Cost is “a story about clothing”. It is an exceptional documentary that not only asks us to consider who really pays the price for our clothing, but also why our clothing costs what it does. The documentary is filmed globally and captures the realities of the clothing industry from farms, factories and fashion runways to our wardrobes, eventually being cast off to charity stores and ultimately shipped to developing countries. The entire lifecycle of clothing and the fashion industry is presented in an hour and thirty minutes. The documentary is rated PG13 making it ideal to watch with your age-appropriate children. Like me you might feel inclined to watch it twice. My first viewing of the movie left me shocked and frustrated, it wasn’t until I watched it for the second time that I was better able to absorb more of the detail. You can view the trailer of The True Cost at http://truecostmovie.com/
Website | Fashion Revolution http:// fashionrevolution.org/
The Fashion Revolution movement was a result of the 2013 Rana Plaza catastrophe. On 24 April 2013 over 2,500 people were injured and 1,134 people killed when the eight story commercial building (Rana Plaza) which housed garment factories in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed. The incident has been labelled the deadliest garment factory accident in history. Every year 24 April is Fashion Revolution Day, when tens of thousands of people all over the world ask brands #whomademyclothes The Fashion Revolution movement argues that the lack of transparency costs lives, with many brands not knowing where items used to manufacture their garments have come from. Without knowing where the elements used in production are coming from it is impossible for companies to ensure ethical processes and procedures. The website contains resources and details about the movement as well as how you can get involved. Once we understand the implications of the decisions we make about the clothes we choose to buy it becomes easier to turn our backs on the idea of fast fashion and overconsumption.
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