Juste Un Mot: True Cost Of Fashion

I’ve had somewhat of a writers block in the past week. I have some thirty travel related blog posts in draft but no motivation to complete them at this time. I have other topics that I want to write about so I’ve started a new category in my blog titled “Juste Un Mot” or just a note. They don’t fit into the theme of travel so why not make some room for them?

I’ve had a long term interest in purposeful consumption and sustainable consumption in fashion. It started when one of the garment factories- Rana Plaza in Bangladesh collapsed in 2013 leading to the deaths of over 1000 workers. The fault was a mix of structural failures, bosses ignoring the structural faults and ordering its workers to continue working in unsafe conditions. I was still a university student at this time and did not change my entire wardrobe every season (no money for that!) but I did like to browse and add to my wardrobe more than I do today. I was annoyed at the lack of accountability in the fashion chain. I thought that part of doing good business was still to ensure your suppliers upheld some values of your brand image. Apparently not. This led me to start to reject the ‘fast fashion’ culture. Being even a little trendy, was no longer appealing anymore when people had to sacrifice so much and for what? Vanity in the developed world?

I’m a huge advocate of creation and I think the haute couture world is actually really interesting and really are works of art. These pieces are expensive for a reason being hand made and labourous to create. Ethical fashion is rather for the fashion world that are influenced by these fashion houses and are mass produced for the rest of us mere mortals.

Some years later, I found out about a local premiere screening of the documentary The True Cost in Sydney. I jumped at the chance after having been quite affected by the inequalities of the fashion world. Finally, a catalyst to bring about change.

It was a very eye opening and informative documentary. I hadn’t known much or read much about all the terrible costs of our consumptive societies so was so grateful to be able to learn more about this.

The information surrounding ethical fashion has exploded since and there is now no shortage of information. Certainly a lot more since 2015. There was also more pressure on companies to change and to be held more accountable for their supply chain. There are now rankings of global companies on how ethical they are. How “ethical” companies are, are really multi faceted. It’s about how safe the garment workers are and their working conditions, it’s about how ethical the material production is down to how they are grown or manufactured. It’s about fair pay and environmental impact.

Do you have an interest in ethical fashion? What brought about this interest?

I’m going to write more about this topic so stay tuned.

Juste Un Mot:
The Palm Oil Conundrum
Reusing old clothes
– Taking a break

12 thoughts on “Juste Un Mot: True Cost Of Fashion

  1. I like fashion buy abhor the unethical practices and hate wastefulness where things are thrown out even though they are timeless and still functional. This is not to say I won’t throw anything out but try to find a way to re-purpose or recycle it before throwing out. Love sustainable sourced and ethically produced fashion. Or re-purposed fashion and homewares. I have a rug that is made from recycled toothbrushes! It is fantastic. Looking forward to reading more.

    1. I agree- pieces that could go to a new home should. I’m so glad ethically sourced and produced clothing (and household products) are much more accessible now. That rug sounds so cool! Did you get it locally?

  2. Pingback: Juste Un Mot: Reusing Old Clothing – Lingo in Transit

  3. I was really struck by the tragedy in Bangladesh as well. Since then I’ve chosen to buy fair trade, local and second hand clothing. I love Etsy because I can support artists directly. I like Fair Indigo and Pact because of their labor practices and how organic cotton is so much better for the earth. Thanks for bringing up this important topic!

    1. I’m such a fan of second hand clothing too. The materials feel so much better than the clothes made these days. That’s wonderful that you also utilise Etsy and have found some great companies to support. Thank you for reading!

  4. Pingback: Juste Un Mot: The palm oil conundrum – Lingo in Transit

  5. lauren staton

    So good to find another conscious consumer, I became interested in this, following my daughter’s passion for just buying anything because it was cheap. This led me to learn more and even travel to India to help out with a workroom set up by an NGO to produce organic cotton clothes. I set up a group called Daadi to search out products as I travelled, and then I could write about them. You can find more details on my blog. Due to Covid, a school and workroom have been closed down and the business has been put on hold. I am trying to raise funds for them now through my writing but hard to do it alone. Any advice would be welcome. I have a FB group Daadi Organics if you want to take a look. Love your article on Palm Oil, may I share it? LS

    1. So great to hear about your work Laura! I’ll have a look. It’s so unforunate with the current covid situation-I do hope it picks up again soon. There is a FB group called Ethical Fashion Designers and Supporters which might be good. Yes, of course you can share my article on Palm Oil!

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