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Who made my clothes?

This week is Fashion Revolution Week. It is a campaign centred around the question: Who made my clothes? It always happens during the lsat week of April to remember the Rana Plaza factory collapse four years ago where a startling 1,138 people were killed.

I remember this tragedy well. Despite being shocked and heartbroken I also was hopeful. I thought this might mark the beginning of change. I hoped it would wake people up to the ugly realities of the fashion industry.

Where do our clothes come from?

Our clothes travel a long way before they reach high street stores. It starts with the cotton farmers, goes on to spinners, weavers and sewers.

The majority of people involved in the production of clothes are between 18 and 35 years old and 80% of them are women. One could think that this might be a great provision of employment around the world. However, most of the workers in the fashion industry do not get paid enough to afford basic necessities like food or shelter. They have to endure exploitation, verbal and physical abuse and working in unsafe and dirty conditions.

This is not the only problem with the way our clothes are made, sourced and consumed. With the fast turnaround of people buying and discarding clothing items, resources are depleted at a startling rate and tonnes of waste are produced.

What can I do?

I have felt really challenged by these realities for a while. I am convinced that a change of mind-set about consumption is deeply needed. But I find this really hard. I want to prioritise high quality items that will last me a long time over the cheap stuff that I will have to throw out after a couple of washes. But it is so easy to get sucked into this mentality of wanting to have more and new things all the time. But with this post I want to challenge myself to really ask the question of where the things I wear come from, who made them and if I really need them.

There are three concrete goals that I want to achieve:

  1. Buy less clothes. I have already been working on this (being kind of skint most of the time has helped with this a lot). A study that found that the average European consumer buys 60% more clothing than 15 years ago but keeps hold of it for half as long. This and a look into my wardrobe is a sign that I definitely have enough stuff.
  2. Buy second-hand. This saves resources and it also reduces the demand for ‘fast fashion’ and unfairly produced clothing.
  3. Support ethical brands. I see more and more designers and shops popping up that have made it their mission to produce attire in fair and eco-friendly manner. I am still exploring these brands but am hoping to introduce some of them on here over the next months. Also – if you know of any ethical fashion brands – please let me know about them!

Find out how to stop exploitation in the fashion industry. #whomademyclothes

Join me

I would love it if some of you guys would join me on this journey. I think the above are very achievable steps everyone can take and they don’t necessarily require a lot of money or time. So, let me know your thoughts on fair consumption and definitely keep me accountable to my goals!

Also, I would highly recommend to visit the Fashion Revolution website and to watch a documentary called “The True Cost”. It explores our current relationship with fashion and how the industry has become very fast paced and destructive and it seeks to present some possible solutions. A very important and inspiring watch!

 

 

 

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21 Comments

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus April 25, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Your right, consumerism is damaging and all at the cost of padding out our wardrobes. I am broke too so I rarely buy clothes but I would like to find more eco friendly choices!

    • Reply Britta April 26, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      That is awesome – you have a great fashion sense, so you would definitely have to add to that conversation!!

  • Reply Georgiana Quaint April 25, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    I like the philosophy of slow fashion, I have been pursuing for a while before this became a buzz word because I like to sew my own clothes and thrift. This way I have clothes I really like and as a by-product I am not supporting fast fashion chain stores.

    Read my 7 simple tricks for better skin (link).

    • Reply Britta April 26, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      Sewing is great – but obviously we also have to be aware of where fabrics come from. But it’s a great way to circumvent some of the supply chain, which is great 🙂

  • Reply Ravi April 25, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    thoughtful post. It’s always good to know where the stuff you use originated from.

    • Reply Britta April 26, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply Noor Unnahar Siddique April 25, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    it’s a sad sad thing to witness how hardworking people never really get the credit and revenue they deserve. I am going to be a part of Fair Trade (an organization that helps the real producers [esp farmers] to get their actual part of the revenue). Plus I try to buy from local brands and indie artists to support and help the local market grow. These steps are small but together, we can fix things <3

    • Reply Britta April 26, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      Yeah fair trade is fantastic – it is good to value people and the work that they do!

  • Reply Five little doves April 25, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    This is a great campaign! Buying second hand is a great way of recycling and saving money, and buying ethical is even more important.

  • Reply Kathy Myers April 25, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    I agree I bought so many clothes while I was teaching, my closet has some with tags it is sad where most have come from!

  • Reply Ali Rost April 26, 2017 at 12:11 am

    This is a topic that comes up more and more lately .. and for good reason. We all want to be as responsible as we can to everyone along the supply chain. To date .. while I’ve known about the issue .. admittedly I haven’t changed any of my buying habits. (Although I don’t clothes shop very often). Thanks for the conversation .. it’s a good one!

  • Reply Elizabeth O. April 26, 2017 at 3:06 am

    I agree. There are people who are suffering thanks to brands that mass manufacture clothes just to feed their business. It’s nice to get involved and help the people behind it who are suffering.

  • Reply Carol Cassara April 26, 2017 at 3:08 am

    It’s nice that you’re helping in raising awareness on this. The steps that you gave are awesome ways to help those who are being used by huge companies to make clothes.

  • Reply Yve April 26, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Great read!

  • Reply Rose Sahetapy April 26, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    Since last year I started to incorporate second hand clothes in my wardrobe and I must say nothing wrong with wearing second hand clothes. Support ethical brands is definitely a great contribution on this particular campaign.

  • Reply Lindsey April 28, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Whata thoughtful post to raise awareness for such a tragedy, once that should also never be forgotten.

  • Reply Jules April 28, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Definitely a great concept! I’m guilty of participating in fast fashion since it’s so easy and convenient My overflowing closet can attest to that. My goal this year is to donate and stop buying so much when I don’t need to! Good luck in your journey!

    • Reply Britta April 30, 2017 at 8:28 am

      Yes, it is so easy to just pick something up without really thinking about it. But identifying that is the first step to change 🙂

  • Reply Karen Jolly April 29, 2017 at 6:21 am

    Buying second-hand stuff is not bad. As long as the material is in good condition and you like to use it, then why not?

  • Reply Jivi May 2, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    I feel so similar to you – I’ve known about the realities of fast fashion for quite some time now, but somehow I keep shying away from the higher prices of ethically produced and higher quality items. I’m gonna jump on board and use you as inspiration to finally make the commitment to it! Thank you.

    • Reply Britta May 4, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Oh that is so good to hear! Let’s be world changers together 💜

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