Now for the nitty-gritty about Slow Fashion.
Let’s say you go to a big box store in the States. There you see thousands of pieces of clothing. Look at the labels. None of them are Made in America. We don’t make clothes here – at least there are not many manufacturers of clothing left. I’d imagine there are a mere handful.
Now check out where the clothes are made. Maybe China. Sri Lanka, Malaysia ….. Vietnam, a plethora of Asian countries. Check further – see any Eastern European countries listed on those labels? I have some clothes that do have those labels.
Now you need to do some thinking and some research. How much do you think the garment workers in China are paid. Hint: it is very very very low. What are the conditions in which they work? Not good. Crowded factory conditions, few breaks, noise levels that will deafen them within years. The chances of fires that will kill most of them. Get the picture? These are inhumane manufacturers and our companies here in the US are doing business with them. We’re talking “bottom line” here.
The bottom line for us, the proponents of Slow Fashion, should be not to buy these items of clothing. We have been lulled into shopping indiscriminately for cheap clothes that have cost others dearly. We buy based on what’s new and what’s new changes every week. First this look, then that one – on and on.
It is not just the big box stores that participate in this shameful kind of business practice. Check out the expensive brands like Eileen Fisher. Where are the clothes made??????? Maybe they have better control over the conditions at their factories, but I doubt it. We’re still talking bottom line stuff here.
What can we do? We can quit buying clothing made in countries where the manufacturing practices are barbaric. We can quit succumbing to the urge to have every new fashion fad as explained to us by our marketing companies. We can stop buying. Yes. Just stop buying.
There’s a lot of talk about climate change these days. On and on and on. Let’s change the climate in a way that matters. Stop being mesmerized by the latest skimpy fashion covering the goddess of sleaze at the moment. Stop looking at people with $700 jeans made in China and consider whether or not anyone you know will be able to estimate the cost of those jeans. Do they look like they cost $700 or do they just look like jeans?
Be responsible. Purchase only what you need, not what someone else tells you that you want. Take a good hard look in your closet, in your attic (I have clothes in my attic) and in your wallet. Decide if there is something you need to purchase for an upcoming event or just because you need more work wear. Since I don’t work and I mess around with dyes all day long, I need junk clothes and good clothes. My idea of good clothes is a clean pair of jeans, a long-sleeved t-shirt and a sweater or hoodie. I paid $5 each for the two hoodies I wear the most. I am going to get dye on them. If not dye, something else.
The sweaters I knit for myself will last forever. The yarn is expensive, but I try to buy yarn manufactured in America. Like Quince & Co., a Maine company with the most fabulous range of fibers and colors – like Brooklyn Tweed which has yarn grown and milled right here in America – and many more. The yarn is not exorbitant at these two companies. I was buying from another company that was totally pre-order but all their yarn is outsourced and nobody knows from where. It is also excruciatingly expensive. Most of that cost is overhead – but it is not “Made in America” but abroad.
So we quit buying fashion fads made in countries where workers’ rights are ignored, we search out companies who are primarily concerned with providing jobs for Americans (this isn’t xenophobic Mr. President – it helps our economy and our workers) and we look at each and everything we buy with the same lens.
Can you find things you need that are responsibly sourced? Start trying to do that outside of fashion. Try to find stuff you need Made in America. A quick search on Google will pop up millions of hits.
Slow Fashion can turn to Slow Living ………. if we give it a chance. Think of the lives we’ll save.