I don't know about you, but I find screaming headlines like "If It's Cheap – It's Nasty!" such a drag. Yet another thing to avoid, more bad news, more to feel guilty about.
These are the headlines I love, "On Sale – Going Cheap!" – "Discounted Prices!" – "Wholesale to the public!" You're just not human if these words don't grab your attention and lift your heart!
So it's kind of weird I find myself writing this article considering I'd rather leave all the ethical, whether something is toxic to the environment type of decisions to the industry.
It doesn't seem much to ask to have only ethically made and safe for the environment goods to buy darnit!
But when last has it been safe to leave stuff to those in the know – especially when the question of increased profit margins comes into the picture? Probably never, but back then it was easier to hide the nasty, behind the scenes goings on. Unfortunately we have the internet to thank for not being able to turn a blind eye out of ignorance.
Here's what a quick search on the internet will tell you in case I've still got your attention:
- We all know most of our clothes are made in the East where EU regulations don't come into effect. To keep the bargains rolling out the factory owners keep costs down by not installing proper safety precautions against fire as well as other natural disasters like earth tremors and by not providing healthy working conditions – sweatshops are a reality – resulting in 1000s of deaths, directly and indirectly.
- Not only are these workers risking their lives every day by working in these factories they are being paid a below living wage of sometimes less than $ 1 a day.
- There are many cases of physical abuse, sexual harassment and workers who turn to unions for help are more than likely to be fired.
- The countries where our cheap clothing is made do not have stringent pollution and emissions regulations. There is a huge amount of toxic waste generated during the making and dyeing of the fabrics and this gets pumped into the environment poisoning water supplies for whole towns.
- Because cheap and nasty fashionable clothing gets made cheap and fast the clothing never lasts long and is soon out of fashion which means a huge amount of textile gets dumped every day.
- What doesn't go to landfill gets sent to developing countries which, although it does spawn small businesses, may actually delay the development of their own employment creating garment manufacturing industries.
If you're really keen to know more I suggest you watch Greenpeace's video – Detox: How People Power is Cleaning Up Fashion on YouTube . This video definitely got me keen not to buy cheap and nasty. I'd love to hear what you think.
So there you have it folks! It's up to you and me again. Typically the few have made it difficult for the many and we can't stand for that now can we?
One simple rule rules them all – if it's dirt cheap it was made in ways that may even have cost people their lives. That crumpled $ 20 in your pocket? Save it up until you can buy
- quality that lasts so fewer clothes end up in the garbage can
- organic materials – man-made fiber's are proving to be toxic to our environment
- homemade on Etsy – employ an artist
- second hand – vintage is very hip
- from brands who verify their products are ethically produced and environmentally friendly.
This may mean we have to delay our retail therapy somewhat and pay more for less, but I'm thinking, we and the world are worth it, don't you agree?