Image source: Fashion Revolution
Happy International Women's Day!!
Our purchasing decisions have an enormous impact on women all around the world. When we support businesses that are making ethical choices for workers and the environment, we are contributing to the growth of healthy, thoughtful companies.
-Did you know that women make up 80-90% of sweatshop workers earning less than $3 a day?
-Fast fashion and overconsumption puts the fashion industry as the second most polluting industry in the world, behind oil.
-Most clothing these days are made with synthetic materials like polyester, rayon, nylon or spandex which will take hundreds of years to break down.
-Only 10% of donated clothing is actually recovered while the rest ends up in the trash or incinerated.
-Main cotton producing countries like China and India are already facing water shortages due to demand for fabrics.
What can you do?
COMMIT TO LEARNING WHO MADE YOUR CLOTHES
You may not be able to change your spending habits over night. If you begin by taking a deeper look at all of your spending, you can avoid buying into this problem and the way you shop will drastically change over time.
I LOVE this info graphic. No idea who originally made it but it's all over the internet.
Now imagine a garment worker who works for $3 a day looking over your shoulder as you contemplate this. So many times in my life people have tried to get me to avoid these kinds of conversations. While people are enslaved for our comforts I will not allow myself to get selfishly overwhelmed or paralyzed by something as serious as modern day slavery.
I cannot tell you how many times people have said to me: "it's just too overwhelming", "I have to look away", "there's just too much wrong in the world" or "those countries just need to change their laws".
These women children and even men, don't get to look away. When you give money to companies advocating for change, your dollar is a vote that travels into the businesses of the right people who will also advocate for change!
Change doesn't happen when we sugarcoat things for our own convenience. It does happen though, when we are grateful for the chances that we get to do something! Gratitude always leads to sacrifice. Spend 10 minutes less a day scrolling through instagram and 15 minutes more thinking about the impact of your purchasing decisions and you will be surprised how far you'll get in a year or two.
BUY LESS, BUY USED, REPAIR IT
After years of making incremental changes and taking time to become educated I have a mostly secondhand wardrobe and I’ve drastically slowed down my clothing waste. I have a few things I have spent more money on and those items have lasted me for years. Not to mention I have saved SO much money!
I remember feeling so overwhelmed years ago when I first began learning about human trafficking but now that I know my options, I'd never walk into another Forever 21 or Gap and I don't struggle with buyers remorse. I wear the same outfit twice a week and I don't give a crap who notices!
I bought a used pair of suede boots last year that simply needed to be repaired at the sole and they'll last me years!
NEED IT? INVEST IN CLOTHING THAT LASTS
Don’t buy a $10 T-shirt that will fall apart in a few months, invest in clothing that lasts from companies that are transparent.
Here's a great list on The Good Trade
I'd add Patagonia to that list as well!
FIND TOOLS THAT HELP
Download the Good on You app which makes checking a brands impact on people and the planet much easier.
COMPOSTING AND RECYCLING YOUR TEXTILES
Cotton, Silk, Wool, Cashmere, Hemp, Bamboo, and Linen can all be composted as long as they are not mixed with synthetics!
Here is a how-to from 1MillionWomen
Can't compost? Recycle the rest.
If you can't compost it, give it away or if it's too tattered, H&M is one of the only companies that will accept your textiles in-store to be recycled. They'll give you %15 off and you can use that towards their Conscious line.
Patagonia also recycles and sells used Patagonia products in its stores.
ASK COMPANIES "WHO MADE MY CLOTHES"
Fashion Revolution has become one of the largest fashion activism movements. Join them April 23-29th in asking companies "who made my clothes" via your social media platforms.
Read more about their work here