If the word fashionista (or fashionisto) appeals to you in one way or another you should definitely read this article. Because some of you might not be aware on what scale our shopping behavior harms this planet and other human beings. We honestly have to admit that for many years we had no clue of the negative effects of the fashion industry. Until now…
The True Cost a documentary about the clothes we wear, who makes them and the impact the industry is having on our world. Since we and probably you too, are a true victim of this consumer society it’s about time we become aware of what we’re exactly doing. You buy the latest trends, wear these items one or two times and than they end up somewhere. Final destination: dumpster.
A few interesting facts
1. We consume around 80 billion pieces of clothing each year. That’s an increase of 400% compared to 20 years ago.
2. The fashion industry is n°2 when it comes to pollution (oil remains king of the castle)
3. 250.000 Chinese cotton farmers have killed themselves the last 15 years. For the main reason that they have debts after investing in genetically modified cotton seeds, courtesy of Monsanto.
4. One out of six people works in the fashion industry. The majority of this group are underpaid women. (How to support a family with less than 3$ a day?)
5. Only 10% of the clothes donated to charity get sold. The rest ends up in developing countries where the overdose of textile messes up the local industry.
Reinvention of the fashion industry
As they say in The True Cost, the fashion industry has been reinvented. Till the sixties 95% of the clothes were made in the US, now it’s only 3% and instead of 2 seasons there are 52 seasons a year. And the competition is fierce. People in developing countries have to work long hours for a pittance. Just to meet our specific needs. And not only fellow human beings are suffering. Waste textiles, chemicals and so on are destroying the environment.
It has been proven that the more people are focussing on material stuff and possession, the unhappier they become. You try to fill up that certain emptiness within yourself while buying new things. But this generally has the opposite effect. It will make you smile for a second but afterwards there’s only guilt.
How we can contribute
There’s basically just one key sentence that we need to keep in our minds:
“Buy less choose well”
We all have to start living a more conscious life instead of ignoring the reality. Fashion can also be a great source of inspiration instead of just an item in your closet. If you see it as a form of art, you can just look at it and enjoy instead of wanting everything yourself. So before you go shopping, whether it’s on -or offline, think before you grab that credit card out of your wallet. And ask yourself the following questions:
1. Will I wear this more than 30 times, at least?
2. Can I combine this item easily with other things in my wardrobe?
3. Do I really need this? Don’t I have something similar from a past season?
For a few seasons we’re buying less items and spending more money on one piece. When you spend 500$ on a pair of Balenciaga shoes we can assure you that these won’t end up in the dumpster that easily. If you don’t have a huge budget there are always loads of vintage shops where you can go loose.
You may think that it’s hypocrite of us to write about this subject since we always seem to be promoting brands and designers. But like we already mentioned, for us fashion is a form of art. The fact that were inspired by it doesn’t mean we need to buy it. Most of the time enjoying the image is enough. Seeing it doesn’t mean you have to buy it!