When I walk past a well-staged storefront, it's easy to feel like I'm part of the story. Like I'm the one on the boardwalk enjoying the sunshine, sipping lemonade, and giving a side wink to the boys playing beach volleyball. Like Isla Fisher in Confessions of a Shopaholic, the clothes begin to speak to me. It's a powerful connection.
But recently, it's been different. My awareness has shifted a bit. I now catch myself digging a bit deeper. My thoughts carry beyond the surface-level emotions and into the story of the people involved in making those clothes. Fashion has always been a way for someone to express themselves, but what if clothes could talk? What would they say?
Lucy Siegle, a journalist and expert in the textile industry, gave a TEDx talk about the numbers behind the fashion industry.
Siegle says that there are approximately 80 billion articles of clothing manufactured each year - many by "fast fashion" giants (H&M, Zara). She knows first-hand how much time it takes to produce quality clothing, and reasons that paying $10 for a pair of pants should be impossible. But it’s not.
Because the reality is there are warehouses of people making enough clothing in unsuitable, dangerous and impoverished areas to keep production costs low.
If your clothes could talk, what story would they tell? If you're not sure, maybe it's time to shift your perspective a bit.
Ethical clothing isn't a fad. It's an enlightenment. An evolution. An empathetic gesture to our brothers and sisters in under-developed parts of the world. We should always be thinking, always growing, and striving to help usher in a better tomorrow.
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