If you haven’t watched The True Cost , please go ahead and watch it right now. Quite honestly, the movie changed my life. It laid out the severely harrowing state of a fashion industry that so many of us are able to mindlessly partake in due to cultural conditioning and a simple lack of information.
Okay, so maybe you don’t have an hour to spare right this second, but you definitely have 2 minutes to spare to watch the trailer so that we can a) get on the same page and b) you can be moved to bump the movie up in your Netflix queue.
Y’all. Something has to change here. And guess what? The only people that are going to make that happen in any sort of efficient and meaningful way is us – the consumers. Like the organic and local food that we’ve so willingly and trendily accepted as a necessary investment, so must we do with the clothes that we wear. The best part is – it’s way less of an investment and more of an attitude/awareness adjustment.
Let’s start by being more aware. Know good advertising when you see it, and try to stop letting yourself be convinced that you need more, more, more and new, new, new to be happy. Juxtapose those images with some of the images from the film, and try to consciously think back and down the supply chain, as much as you can, to ask yourself if you are really willing to buy whatever it is you’re tempted by. It’s upsetting to think that a chicken raised here may be sent all the way to China to be processed, then flown back to be stocked on your local grocery’s shelves, right? What a waste of fuel, time, and energy for that one chicken!
It’s the same with clothes. As with everything, there are “many shades of green”, and the ability to fix all of these problems in one fell swoop, choice, purchase, donation, etc, is overwhelming and in fact, impossible. But maybe start with only buying clothes that you know where they came from, or who made them. You’ll actually be surprised; these things aren’t easy to find out. Some good places to start are companies that boast “transparency”, such as Everlane, which is newer, but some great ones that have been around are Patagonia, and Eileen Fisher. Maybe you’ll want to stick with Made in USA, maybe you’ll have more energy around making sure all the textiles used are recycled or recyclable.
Whichever shade of green you choose, a great, easy, and effortless place to start is buying second hand. And never, ever throw clothes in the trash can.
Buying second hand at thrift stores, or hosting clothing swaps with your friends, or donating clothes to said stores or swaps, is – and to my relief, because I love it – probably one of the best things you can do right at this moment to start changing things. It’s completely a win-win, because not only are you beating the (profit-driven, planet destroying, slavery perpetuating) system, but you are saving lots of money (in many cases, the money you are spending is going straight to charity), and its really very fun.
So go beat the system, and have some fun.