How do you shop for your clothes? Is it to fulfill a want or need? To gratify an inner desire to look good on the outside by looking trendy or fashionable? Or if you’re like me browsing through the hanger rack stands in attempt to look for the most comfortable shirt or jeans. I never did once bother what kind of fabric my garment is made of or where it came from. All I knew was they are all scribbled at the label and majority of them came from China, Bangladesh, or Cambodia. How about you? How well do you know about your clothes?
It never occurred to me that knowledge about our own clothing is a shared responsibility, not just the clothing company, or the manufacturer, and the government. It should be right? Since technically, we wear it, we possess it, it’s ours the moment we paid for it. But what’s the big deal? A couple of months ago, I have been learning more about how fast fashion is killing the world we live in.
We are often tempted with sales and discounts especially when faced with a display of vibrant and luscious colors. Fast fashion is designed to produce rapidly at low cost which results to destructive environmental toll. Polyester, which is a very common fabric used for popular fashion garments, is non biodegradable, not only does it threat the aquatic species, it will eventually lead to threaten our food source.
Let’s not go far away. You may be wearing a cotton t-shirt right now. Astoundingly, it takes up to 2,700 liters of water to make a SINGLE t-shirt. That is enough water for one person to drink in 2.5 to 3 years. Manufacturing a shirt is also energy intensive and involves a lot if pesticides and insecticides. Ask yourself, how many shirts do you really need to own?
However, I really want to delve in to the darkest topic of this blog which is not often talked about especially by the multi billion dollar companies who of course have already raked in the profits. Unfortunately our clothes are produced in modern day slavery by people who are paid poorly, forced to work overtime, and inhale toxic chemicals. I’m not so sure how the big corporations are being transparent with the public about their policies. However, the Fashion Revolution, a fashion movement from UK, encourage consumers every year during Fashion Revolution Year to ask brands, “Who Made My Clothes?” hence with the hashtag #whomademyclothes.
If we want to make a difference, we can truly make a difference and take action. We are living in the age of information. Learn more about how your clothes are made and where they come from. Be more aware of your own clothes and let us think twice before deciding to purchase another piece of garment that we think will end up being tossed away after several months. Make informed decisions about the environmental impacts of the fabric material of each clothing you buy. Some of the following examples may help:
- Before buying new clothes, ask yourself, do you really need it? If the answer is yes, does it have to be new? If the answer is no, look for second hand clothes on ebay or your local thrift stores. If you like handmade go to Etsy.
- Use what you have and experiment. You may be surprised how fashionable you can be. One day out of the blue I grabbed a Japanese fashion magazine called Vivi and it showed ten ways to wear an oversized t-shirt most of which I adopt now.
- Choose quality over quantity. Go for clothes that are well made, durable, and that are built to last even though they may cost more compared to fast fashion, but remember, they are expensive for a reason.
If you are interested about different kinds of fabrics and which ones are sustainable for the environment, let me know by leaving a comment and I’ll share that on my next blog.
Thanks for reading!