Let’s face it, we all want to look good. But for the longest time, looking good has come at a price. It has either ment spending a fortune on the right brands, the big names, the most luxurious fabrics and the work of designers whose names are synonymous with the style of any given era… Or we face a different kind of price tag. One that is measured not in dollars and cents but in the suffering and exploitation of people and animals. All too often, however, it has meant both. The fashion industry is about more than keeping people clothed. It’s about demand. And in an era where we’re more voracious than ever and everyone with an Instagram account is a prospective brand influencer, the fashion industry, fashion bloggers need more and more content. This cycle has led to a fast fashion industry that has exploitation at its very core. For too long, many of us have turned a blind eye to the ethical ravages of fast and affordable fashion for too long.
The good news, however, is that if you want to be at the vanguard of change for the industry, you needn’t pay a heavy ethical or monetary price to look good. Simply keep these three things in mind...
Where you buy is as important as what you buy
Just as not all clothes are equal in terms of environmental or ethical cost, neither are all retailers. If you care about how the retailers you choose treat their employees, the ethics behind their buying and manufacturing and what they stand for other than making a profit, it behoves you to read up a little on who you’re buying from.
The profit margin for most high street retailers is astronomical and their front line customer service staff are rarely the ones who see the benefit from it. For a change why not try something different like boutique clothing stores or online stores. If you think that they’re prohibitively expensive, think again. Or, you can always take yourself down to your local thrift store and pick up a bargain while doing some good for a great cause.
Repair and upcycle
We throw away waayyy too many clothes. In fact, it’s estimated that the average American generates 84 lbs of textile waste a year. While some of this is biodegradable and will decompose over time, a great deal of it will not and could end up polluting our waters and harming our wildlife.
Sometimes, it’s cheaper and easier to revivify old clothes by upcycling and repairing them instead of simply replacing them.
No wool, no leather
If you’re concerned about the welfare of our animals, it’s best to avoid wool and leather. While many assume that leather is a meat by product and so no additional cows are dying to feed their fashion fix, the evidence points to a bigger picture. Likewise most people assume that wool is fairly innocuous as sheep need to be shorn anyway, but the wool industry is responsible for a whole lot of animal suffering, too. The good news is that alternatives to these ubiquitous materials are easy to find and tend to be a whole lot cheaper, too!