We all have and buy clothing, but the real question is, how much do we really know about our clothing?
There is so much more to fashion than what you see in the shops and unless you dive deep in Google searches or read endless magazines the information isn’t that readily available as to what goes into making our clothes which I think needs to be changed.
I recently had to do a group presentation based around ethical clothing and even though I consider myself a lover of fashion, there was so much that I didn’t know and now that I know it, it has completely changed my view on the fashion industry and the purchases that I make. This is important information that I want to share with others in the hopes that we all become more conscious of the purchases that we are making.
I firstly wanted to start with the basics and break down the differences between fast and slow fashion, which in some ways are both self explanatory. I am planning on kinda doing a series on ethical fashion but this is a just a taster post.
Since the industrial revolution when sewing machines became more available it meant that clothing could be produced in universal sizes, in mass quantities to sell to masses of people. This is when companies had the formula of the quicker the garments could be made, the more that consumers could buy and therefore the more money the company can make.
So basically fast fashion is when lots of cheap clothes in trend-focused styles that change constantly, aren’t well made and create a cycle of never ending consumption and discarding of garments. In such short amounts of time, companies can imitate styles from more expensive designers and recreate them for a lower price to sell in mass quantities. These companies I am talking about are your typical high street stores such as Primark, Topshop, H&M as well as cheap online stores like Misguided and Boohoo.
While this may all seem convenient it all comes at such a bad price for others. So much goes into one item of clothing and it gets passed through a lot of people like the cotton farmers, spinners, dyers, sewers and then the retail workers in the shops as well. The money that you pay for your garments has to be split between all these different people and often results in workers not receiving a fair wage for the work that they do. In addition to this these people are often subjected to abuse, both physically and mentally and have to keep up with such high demands and to do all of this for such little pay? It’s just not fair.
In contrast, slow fashion is all about buying fewer garments for quality and longevity and gives the product more value and creates more of a connection to the environment. I have noticed in recent years how it is much more talked about on social media and you can learn so much about ethical fashion just by looking at an Instagram caption. This is the what I am aiming to do with this post!
Ethical fashion businesses give the workers who make the clothing better working conditions by not subjecting them to physical and emotional abuse and allowing them a fair wage for the work that they do which explains why these brands often charge more for their clothing. That money fairly goes back to those spent time to make the clothing.
Slow fashion isn’t just about workers rights, it’s also about the environment and choosing fabrics that aren’t harming to nature because if you didn’t know already, cotton uses huge amount of chemicals and pesticides which is hugely damaging to the environment. A lot of brands used recycled fabric which is a great start to solving the worlds plastic problem. Additionally leather and fur products are not used which is actually quite common nowadays with a lot of places offering vegan alternatives.
In terms of my personal shopping habits, I am far from perfect but I am trying to be better and I am actually proud to say that so far this year I have not purchased any clothing or thrown any away and instead are choosing to wear those items stuffed in the back that I forgot about.
This was only the basics and I haven’t gone into much detail because I am only a beginner and have only really touched the surface but it is definitely a topic that I want to know much more about so expect to see more posts like this.
I hope this was useful or even inspiring to make you think more about what goes into our clothing and who.
All of this is a question of whether, you as the consumer, are willing to pay more for your clothes knowing that the money is fairly going to those who spent the time making them???