And why is it important to me?
Ethical fashion is a topic that consistently weighs heavy on my heart and mind. As a licensed social worker for the past six years, human rights have always been at the forefront of my mind, but it wasn't until my eyes were opened to the reality of fast fashion that I realized the true cost of that $9 sweater or $15 purse. I owe a lot of my curiosity on this subject to Everlane, who encourages their customers to "know your factories, know your costs, and always ask why". It prompted me to begin my journey to a more ethical and sustainable way of living.
I want to start by saying I am not here to judge anyone. I am guilty of supporting the fast fashion industry on many occasions, and years ago even enjoyed going to the Santee Alley in LA and finding the "best deals" on fake Louis Vuitton bags. If I had known then what I know now, I don't think that I would have made those same choices. I'm always learning, sometimes not until after I purchase from a "too-good-to-be-true" website or boutique, so I am simply hoping that we can all become more aware of the things we might not have recognized before. I want everyone to be armed with information so we can make the best personal decisions on how we spend our hard-earned money.
So what exactly is ethical fashion? This term is being thrown around a lot these days, and the definitions can vary depending on who you ask. To me, it means being mindful of what went into the clothes I'm wearing and that human rights are respected throughout the process, from source to store. I tend to ask myself: Is the original designer/artist being compensated for the design? Was the material sourced in a way that respects the environment? Was the item made by someone who was treated fairly and paid a liveable wage?
From the design's inception, to production and the impact on the planet, there are various aspects to this concept and my hope is to explore each of them through this blog.
Together, we can make an impact.
We are all humans, and we all share one planet. How we shop, where we shop, what we buy and who we support has a huge impact! Just because the impact isn't always visible, it still affects us. I will be delving deeper into the specifics of how in the next series of posts, so stay tuned! I'll be addressing the following issues and more: The dark side of fast fashion, the new standards of the fashion industry, where to find ethically made fashion, how to shop secondhand, the best ways to recycle your unwanted pieces and how to look at your current wardrobe in new and creative ways! I will also look into the real cost of replica, knockoff and counterfeit merchandise, as well as differentiating between these terms and how to determine what falls under these categories.
In the meantime, I encourage you to check out this segment from "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" (also linked below). If you have a bit more time, definitely check out this super-informative documentary: The True Cost (it's on Netflix!). Thank you for joining me on this journey!