I used to shop at ValleyGirl all the time. This top for $5? Sure! These shoes that I only want to wear once, and that I know will only last once anyway? Yes! I was deep down into the fast fashion trend, and reveling in it. I had no idea that it could be affecting so many people worldwide. Well, one article made me want to join the fight against fast fashion, while still having lots of super cute clothes to wear. Sounds hard? It was, a bit! But now, I’m all done! And it feels so great.
I read an article discussing the factory workers that are laboring away for 12-16 hour shifts, with no breaks or days off. They are paid very little, and live in very poor conditions. There are not many human rights.
I read about the water pollution that is caused by these factories, which harms rural farming environments, just so that they can be closer to the source of supply of cotton etc. This is why ocean animals and birds are dying: because of all of the chemicals that are dumped into the water. The workers are also affected by these chemicals.
I also read about the complete lack of health and safety regulations. I had no idea that this was happening. It’s insane.
All of this for us to have cheap clothes. This is just insane.
I hope that everyone reading this will join me in the fight against fast fashion and the poor working conditions that it causes. I also hope that you will think twice about what you wear and where you get it from, not in a bad judgmental way, but in an awareness-raising and inspiring way.
Coincidentally, I was thinking about becoming vegetarian at the time I discovered all this, and I was reading about the conditions of the livestock, and how unhealthy they are. This is because of the demand for cheap meat. The animals are in poor living conditions, and not being treated well.
I was shocked and upset, and I felt so bad about the whole thing. Then I started to think about humans being treated badly too, but in a different way, although in the clothing industry, in countries like Pakistan or India. It’s the same as the demand for cheap meat: it’s all because of the demand for cheap clothing. I decided to stop shopping at big box stores like Zara and Forever21. I just couldn’t support it anymore.
The first thing I did was to go through my own closet. I was able to sell lots of my old clothes on Poshmark. This was easy to do, and it made me feel so good that I was doing my bit for the environment. And then I had a small amount of money that I could use for my new clothes! So exciting!
Rather than rushing out and getting a bunch of new stuff from the mall, I wanted to buy second-hand clothes. I wanted to find the perfect item of clothing that had been hand-me-down from a friend, or even a thrift store. I had found a couple of things already that were second-hand already, and wanted more. It does take time, but it’s worth it.
I wanted to go to a thrift store and see what I could find one day. I was also going to try to find some good second-hand online shops. I wanted to find something that was just like what I’d see in the stores, but that I’d only have to pay $5 for.
I was able to get some great pieces of clothing. What I love is that buying second not only feels good, but actually does some good too. There’s a worker out there today who had one less dress to sew because of me. I like to hope and think that instead of just making one anyway, that they instead went home early that day and spent time with their family.
Thanks for reading and remember, you don’t have to go 100% second hand or anything, even just buying one or two items from ethical suppliers really helps! So stay positive, get out there, and get shopping!