ethical fashion eco-responsible fashion

1. THIS IS CHEAP

Yes, it's cheap, in every sense of the word. As the famous Karl Lagerfeld said: "It's all about taste. If you are cheap, nothing helps."

Cheap means that there is a disproportion between the quality and the price. The product will therefore be expensive compared to its real value. When you buy a product like this, you get what you pay for for several reasons:

  • It is of poor quality,
  • It won't last over time,
  • You pay the crazy margins of the industrial giants of fast-fashion, while the product is worth nothing,
  • These inexpensive clothes are considered disposable and "easy to make" clothes.

Take a look at your wardrobe, how many sweaters, T-shirts, jeans, skirts and other similar pieces have you ever bought, loved and sometimes finally gave up without even having worn them? It could mean:

  • You have a fleeting passion for every item of clothing you own
  • You don't mind splurging on similar clothes as they are cheap

According to a study, more than 40% of our wardrobe is rarely worn, if ever!

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2. IT'S BAD HIGH QUALITY

We are so used to seeing, buying and wearing poor quality clothing that we ultimately don't know what quality clothing is. By the way, you may have already thought to yourself that these fast-fashion clothes weren't that bad quality ... But really, what is a quality garment?

There are elements that can help us qualify a good garment: 

  • the garment does not move after several years
  • the colors of the garment do not become dull despite washing
  • the seams are impeccable and above all they remain intact
  • the fabric is comfortable on the skin, comfortable to wear and does not cause itching or redness
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3. THE PRICE IS UNJUST

There is nothing wrong with companies wanting to make more profit (though ... but that's another debate!). But it is our responsibility as informed consumers to take a step back and question ourselves on the fairness of the price at which we buy our clothes: who made this dress? Where was it made? In which subject ? Is it really justified to pay 120 € for this 100% polyester dress made in China? Is it normal to sell this t-shirt for € 3? And above all, who is paying the price? 

The answer is simple: the employees! 

Here are their conditions:

  • they work more or less 16 hours a day and are paid a pittance
  • they work in factories where dangerous chemicals are used
  • they are not given any safety equipment to protect themselves from chemicals
  • they are not paid on a fixed date, and their salary can be arbitrarily reduced for no reason
  • they sometimes have no basic sanitary facilities such as toilets, and they have no water supply (or are prohibited from drinking water to avoid going to the toilet).
  • thousands of people lost their lives in these factories (as in the tragedy of Rana Plaza in 2013)
  • most of the employees are women without a degree who do not earn enough to fund their children's education thus leading to a vicious cycle that feeds and benefits the giants that run this industry

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4. NO, PURCHASING FAST FASHION PRODUCTS WILL NOT IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF WORKERS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES 

It would be too good if it happened like this! Unfortunately, the giants of fast fashion do not see it the same way and they simply prefer to continue to exploit a poor workforce, without offering them anything to improve their standard of living. They take advantage of our naivety to further reduce their costs, and increase their margins, and therefore their profits. 

It goes without saying that when prices are low, demand is high (even if the quality is poor ...). As there are more and more consumers buying from fast fashion brands, the latter have orders so large (often hundreds of thousands of units) that they cannot be rejected by factories, as these orders represent for them their main activity. Obviously, the fast fashion companies are playing it and taking the situation to their advantage since they know that they have considerable power and that they can put pressure on factories to reduce their manufacturing costs. In the end, factories are forced to take the order and force employees to work longer at lower cost in order to survive.

If there's one documentary to watch about the fashion industry, it's this one (available on Netflix)
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5. IT IS THE 2ND MOST POLLUTING INDUSTRY IN THE WORLD

Take the example of denim making: the dyeing and finishing process is extremely toxic to the environment, as it uses heavy metals and a significant amount of chemicals that are dumped into rivers without any regulations. Greenpeace tests revealed the presence of five heavy metals (cadmium, chromium, mercury, lead and copper) in 17 water and sediment samples (out of 21), taken from all of Xintang and Gurao, super concentrators of denim productions. In one sample, cadmium was 128 times higher than China's national limits.

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    CONCLUSION

    FASHION GOES OUT, STYLE REMAINS

    If you spot a pretty blouse at Zara or H&M, take the time to think twice. And don't forget that with each of your purchases, you are voting for the world you want to have. By choosing to buy more consciously beautiful, quality pieces that you will keep for several years, you are already taking a big step towards more responsible consumption and you are contributing to a better world.

    Because we all have, on our scale, the possibility of to change things.

     

    This article is adapted by Byoo Store, in collaboration with The Lesser Evil: Blog.