Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Thoughts on Fashion Revolution Day

Today is Fashion Revolution Day. This year marks the five year anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh, the deadliest garment industry accident of all times. Even though I was hardly concerned about ethical fashion back then, I still remember hearing about it in the news. It doesn't feel like it happened so long ago at all. Nevertheless, most items of clothing made five years ago have most likely long found their way to a landfill by now. It's the flip side of fast fashion, the price of pushing out new collections every few weeks, wanting new clothes for every party, thinking we need new things to be happy or "cool" or just feel good about ourselves.

I'm actually not a big fan of aggressive expression of one's worldviews, but this is literally where this day originates from and I felt like I needed to explain it a bit. Actually, I figured that today would just be a good occasion to reflect on some thoughts regarding my resolution to strictly reduce my shopping for newly made things this year. I've started following a lot of ethical fashion promoters on social media and tried to make sense of what I do and what I don't agree with. I also came across this graph recently, which pretty much sums up my opinion.

The biggest section of this pyramid is using what you already have. Since I started following ethical fasion, zero waste and sustainable living platforms on social media, this is one of the first things I noticed. Sometimes people get too excited about embracing a new journey that they want to turn a clean page, throw everything out and buy all this "zero waste equipment". But it's not about buying a new water bottle, lunch boxes, reusable straws or emptying out your closet to replace everything with clothing from thrift stores and sustainable brands. Wearing that H&M top that you already have is still better than tossing it and getting a fairly made one. How about starting with selling or giving away some things instead? Especially with clothing, actually telling yourself to use what you have, can also help with the urge to buy new items. Realizing that I'm supposed to wear a purchased item until it's not wearable anymore has made me think a lot more about bringing new things into my closet. 

The next two sections, borrowing and swapping, are awesome ways of getting some change while not buying anything at all. It's mostly a sisters thing, but I do this with my Mom all the time, haha. I borrow way more from her than the other way round, but it is what it is. Recently we swapped our backpacks of different colors, for instance. :D 

THRIFTING. This is the most controversial part of ethical and sustainable fashion. Hunting in second hand stores can be as addicting as regular shopping. Most people I follow argue that thrifting items from brands that they would otherwise never buy from is okay, because none of your money goes to that company. Whereas I completely agree that shopping second hand is WAY better, I think we shouldn't lose all caution with this. Most second hand shops get clothes through donation boxes. However, the word "donation" here is such a slippery slope, in my opinion. It makes people feel good about themselves for donating, whereas in reality, a lot of the time, they are just using a convenient way to dispose of irresponsible purchases. Only a small amount of the clothes actually go to people in need and I don't know how much of a hero you are for a shirt that was sold for maybe 5€ after managing the boxes, transporting and sorting the clothes and running the store? Why isn't it called donating when you're actually willing to pay 5€ for someone's old shirt? It's the buyer that supports the charity with their money and helps the environment by not buying newly made things. 

But second hand stores are not going anywhere, not only because the fashion industry is not showing any signs of slowing down, but also because there are other occasions where clothes are simply not used anymore and need to be passed on. Therefore, above all, I admire the amount of work and dedication different organizations put into fighting clothing waste and fast fashion.

Anyway, I hope that more and more people get inspired to make a change and would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. 💗

No comments:

Post a Comment