How to let go of the fast fashion brands you love.
Guys, we need to talk. We’re sorry if that line triggers you, but we just really need to get something off our chest. We all need someone there to tell us when enough is enough—which someone should have done with Angelina and Billy Bob before they wore vials of each other’s blood around their necks, in our opinion—and this is us doing it for you. Enough with the fast fashion brands; they don’t deserve you!
If we’re being honest, there has never been a more important time to embrace a more conscious way of consuming, and there is no longer any excuse to ignore the tragedies that occur because of the fast fashion model. Fast fashion is responsible for the abuse and exploitation of not only the planet’s natural resources, but also the people who make our clothing. Garment workers are subjected to every form of abuse, as well as unsafe and unfair working conditions; the production of fast fashion contaminates all forms of water bodies, and “is responsible for producing 20% of global wastewater”; and 97% of fast fashion garments are produced overseas, with emphasis on poor countries (thank you for this info, 7Billion for 7Seas).
On the 24th of April 2013, the Dhaka garment factory collapse, otherwise known as the Rana Plaza tragedy, occurred in Bangladesh. The structure that contained clothing factories and other businesses collapsed, killing 1,134 people. More than half of these people were women, and this number also includes children whom were being cared for whilst their mothers were working in the factory. Cracks were discovered in the building the day before the collapse, but the owner of the building ignored warnings to discontinue using it, forcing garment workers to resume business as normal. We’ll just reiterate: there has never been a more important time to embrace a more conscious way of consuming.
Letting go of your faithful fast fashion brands is not going to happen overnight, but with a bit of hard work and sacrifice (and maybe a few tears), it can be done. Unfollowing fast fashion Instagram accounts, unsubscribing from their email lists—which, by the way, will keep down the number of junk emails you get—and slowing down the time between wanting to purchase and actually purchasing are three ways you can break up with fast fashion for good. In the mean time, you can even send an email to your favourite companies asking them about their processes, and if they have any intention of committing to a more ethical and sustainable way of producing. Now that’s what we call taking matters into our own hands.
In saying all of this, you can take comfort in the fact that, by giving up fast fashion, you do not have to give up clothing, or the thrill or gratification you feel when you make a new purchase. Here at Ethical Made Easy, we encourage slow and mindful consumption, but this does not mean we are completely immune to the temptation of buying something new. You can be sure that for every cheaply made knock off supplied to you by fast fashion companies, an ethically and sustainably minded brand has already crafted the same garment, well, ethically and sustainably, so consider buying from them instead.
A bit lost in that department? We’ve got your back! Our ethical brand directory is chockablock full of companies putting people and the planet above profit and power (try say that last bit five times fast). Oh, and there are even already a number of well-established brands that understand the value of the people who craft their products, and they do not compromise on quality in the process. Our five mainstream fashion brands you didn’t know were ethical article will give you the run-down on a few of these, and we think you’ll be surprised by the companies you’ll find on that list.
If you can’t afford the ethical and sustainable alternative just yet, even after doing all of the cost-per-wear calculations, do not stress! You can have read about our tips on how to participate in ethical fashion when you can hardly pay rent, or you can honestly just think about how to start making more considered purchases. Taking into consideration the timelessness of a piece of clothing and contemplating how many times you will actually wear it before you’ve actually bought it are to ways in which you can ease into your transition from fast to ethical fashion.
Even though all of us here at Ethical Made Easy have made the switch, we still have a whole heap of clothes purchased in our addicted-to-fast-fashion days hanging in our cupboards (H&M and Zara included). This obviously isn’t because we endorse what they are doing but rather to prolong the life of the garments instead of participating in the alternative: sending them to landfill. So, instead of doing the latter, make use of what you’ve already got and take good care of the clothes you already have, even if, after some research, the name of the brand brings tears to your eyes.
So, we’ve got some homework for you to do. We know what you’re thinking, “I thought I tapped out of homework the day I left high school”, but we promise this homework will actually do you some good. Before you buy a piece of clothing, consider how it was made, who made it, and the process it went through to get to you, and be an active and aware consumer and owner. “Be the change you wish to see in the world” , because you can quite literally do this with your spare change.
Image via one of our favourite ethical brands – Bias Basics.