Last time I talked about the effect fast fashion is having on others in the world. Today I want to talk about a few different solutions that may have an impact on fast fashion. Obviously we all have differing levels of how to help out. I know we all don’t have the ability to drop everything and start sewing all of our clothes, even though that would be super cool! I know there are some people out there who are totally dedicated to doing as much as possible in their own lives to avoid contributing to the problem. That is totally awesome. On the flip hand, I think each one should do what we can. Let’s not feel pressured to do something we can’t do. I know as far as me personally, I would love to do a lot of things right now, that just are not in the budget. We place priorities on the things we do. I try to balance my life out the best I can, but that may mean some areas get a little bit less than others. That is ok. We each have a different level of something and that is ok. I know often times I feel guilty that I can’t help out this or that, I don’t want you to feel guilty from these posts. Just do what you can! Like I said last time, I really want to raise awareness because it is something that tugs at my heart.
Sew Your Own Clothes
Like I said, not all of us can drop everything and sew a handmade wardrobe. But I did want to start with this one because it is what I do. I hear the argument well what about the fabric? Someone has to make that. I am aware of that, but sewing is still decreasing one thing someone else has to do. I haven’t really looked into the fabric making process to see if those factories are unethical. I do know that dirt cheap clothing factories most likely are. So I sew. I sew for many reasons, but taking the load off of someone else is one of them.
Buying A Few Pricey Items Rather Than Lots of Cheap Items
I have found that when I buy something that is more expensive I treat it that way. I take care of it better and I like it more. I don’t readily throw it away. I also try to choose my more expensive purchases wisely. I ask myself “will I like this a couple months/years from now?” I also try to go with brands I know I will love for a long time. For example I love Fossil Purses, Toms and Sperry shoes, North Face jackets, etc. I know if I buy those brands the item will get it’s fair share of usage. They feel quality so it makes me want to wear/use them more and I like their look. I bought a knock off Tom’s shoes from Maurices and I hardly ever wear them. I gravitate toward my authentic Toms even though they are a different color. I can tell a huge difference in quality. When I buy more expensive things I try and buy neutral. My fossil purse goes with all colors, my Toms shoes are grey brown and tan, my winter North Face Jacket is black. Since the higher quality product lasts longer, I don’t want to get sick of it. You can always throw a fun scarf with your jacket to add color. You can easily find ways to dress up your neutral item to make it fun while still being able to hold onto it longer.
Buy From Places That Treat Workers Fairly
I think with the awareness arising, there have been many company’s start that are committed to treating their workers fairly. I don’t think those people will ever be privileged enough to work in the conditions we work in, but differing living conditions and treating people poorly are two very different things. I will share a few places with you that are committed to helping those less fortunate rather than squeezing as much out of the as they can.
Loving Shepherd Ministries has an Etsy shop full of purses, clutches, and other things made by at risk single mothers so they can provide for their family. Such a great cause!
Cotopaxi is a non-profit company that creates outdoor products and experiences that fund poverty alleviation. They only partner with factories that meet strict standards for working conditions. You can read more about how they pick their factories here.
Fair Indigo has anything from clothes to gifts. The items made for sale here are made by people in safe surroundings, not sweat shops.
American Apparel is a company in California. They make their products right here in America, meaning good working conditions for the employees! On their site they mention a garment worker in Bangladesh earns an average of $600 per year. An experience garment worker in America earns $30,000+ a year along with benefits such as health care.
Toms is obviously a favorite of mine. Not only do they give a pair of shoes for every pair bought, they have also opened up factories to create jobs in areas they give shoes. You can read more about what they do on their site.
Hell Gates Fabrics is an online fabric store that sells fabrics made from natural fibers in countries with fair labor practices.
Obviously this is only a few companies committed to ethical production of clothes. When purchasing clothes, accessories, or shoes look for items certified by independent associations such as Fair Wear, Fair Trade and GOTSI. As far as the above links I can only speak for Toms and Loving Shepherd Ministries as I have not purchased any of the other companies products. I obviously love Toms and I have a Loving Shepherd Ministries purse that I really like. Since I make my clothes I didn’t take to much time shopping the websites. This is just merely a list to get your head spinning!
Shop and Resale Shops
Obviously when we buy used that is one less new item demanded by consumers. Maybe it was made in a sweatshop to start with, but since it has been used, it is not increasing the demand for fast fashion
Avoid Dirt Cheap Clothes
Two very similar dresses. One priced at $12.90 not on sale (Forever 21) and the other at $75.90 (Fair Indigo). Do you really think a dress can ethically be made for $12.90? I am sure many factories overseas are no where near what we as American’s would expect to work in, but there are factories that abide by safety laws and have better working conditions. I believe you get what you pay for. Maybe you can’t afford the $75.90 dress, but I know I ethically can’t afford to buy a $12.90 dress not on sale. When I look at $12.90 not in the aspect of I can afford it, but in the eyes of someone working in unfit conditions, I find myself disgusted. It isn’t worth it to me to get that good of a deal.
I know we can’t stop people from being treated unfairly in areas where the government doesn’t care about their people. But we can stop the demand for fast fashion that drives these factories to produce clothing for next to nothing. We can start to see the value of quality over quantity. We can try to view things from the eyes of someone else. We can make a stand to do our best in the way we can.
I think we can all make a difference. If you want to share your difference follow me @darcyschock on Instagram and use #differencebyone to inspire others to follow their passion. Because every single day each one of us make a difference if it feels significant or not. Why not share it to inspire all of us to do better one person at a time.