Is it worth it? Can I afford it? Cheaper is better, yes?
We think about fashion as we have been programmed to as a consumer.
It will make you happy.
It will make you confident.
It is a great deal one-time offer not to be missed!
But beyond the flashy ads and perfectly smiling models there are things that we MUST think about. Things that affect not only ourselves but the world around us.
Who made this garment I want to buy?
Were they happy?
Were they being exploited?
Where did the materials come from?
What was the environment this garment was made in?
Was there love and inspiration in its conception? Or greed?
We haven’t been programmed to think of fashion this way because it would destroy the veil of illusion that lulls us into ignorance about our purchases and the personal impact those purchases make on us and the planet.
The flashy ads tantalizing us with great deals on super cheap fashion are the worst of the worst con artists.
Because there is nothing cheap or great about the “deal” we are making with fast fashion.
The cost is just deferred to a later date in a different place.
The cost to a human who lives in virtual slavery working for a factory that pays just enough to keep them coming back each day but not enough for them to actually thrive is part of this “deal”..
The cost on a community whose river is polluted beyond repair next to a landfill filled with last season's best is part of this “deal”.
Fashion is the second most damaging industry on the planet.
We are all up in arms about Fracking and GMO’s yet we shop at Forever21 and H&M with little thought to its impact.
If you knew someone died in Cambodia to get that t-shirt price down to 10 dollars, would you still buy it?
The “deal” is written in the blood of those who sacrificed their livelihood as the last resort of a community out of options and desperate to survive.
At the end of the day the industry of fashion has impacts on human life and the environment that you can’t even imagine unless you go to the places these garments and fabrics are made and see the results first hand. It is as mind altering as eating plants in Peru so maybe next time visit the village your $20 cocktail dress was made in instead and have a radical awakening of what's happening in this world of fashion.
Next time you consider getting tricked into buying a great “deal” think about those communities. Think about the power you have to influence these companies. Capitalism is filled with cronies and crooks looking to cash in on our ignorance and take this world for all it has, but one of the brilliant thing about capitalism is that the power is truly in the consumer. This is why these companies spend billions and billions to convince you to buy something. Because, in the end, you have the choice. Antiquated industries that don't evolve, die. They die because we choose not to feed them. Mcdonald's is losing money and closing restaurants across the world because people have awoken to the impact food has on our bodies and the planet and refuse to harm themselves by eating poison. It's time for this to happen with fashion as well.
But, it will only happen if we stop feeding these companies.
Small, ethical companies are starting to shift things. Sustainability in fashion is getting more and more exposure and there are more and more companies creating ethical alternatives to fast fashion. If you need cheap, shop at thrift stores where you are actually reusing and recycling fashion in a harmless way. If you are done with a garment, donate it so it doesn't end up in a landfill. Buy investment pieces you keep forever and you only have to buy once. Find companies that offer lifetime guarantees so you never have to buy that item again. A $100 dollar jacket you have to buy 10 times is the same price as a $1000 dollar jacket you only have to buy once. Guess which one you will love more?
By supporting companies and designers who are trying actively to shift a monstrous industry that has brainwashed people into thinking these “deals” are good you are also causing huge shifts.
Because if no one buys from these designers, big fashion wins.
The little guys go away and the big bads get stronger.
Each purchase you make consciously gives these ethical companies a little more ammunition in their war against fast fashion and the horrible business practices they enact.
The fashion Industry could be a creative and inspiring industry that supports global artisans in their crafts. But unless we realize how much impact each of us has with our purchases it won't happen.
There is a tale of two wolves. We each have two wolves in our head leading us towards goodness or ruin. The one that wants to sabotage the good things in our life and the one that wants to bring more of those good things. These wolves are in a battle constantly speaking to us and guiding us in contrasting directions. The story goes on to say that whichever wolf you feed is the one that wins.
This is the perfect analogy for capitalism and commerce.
So who do you want to be your champion in this world of fashion?
Where do you want your hard earned dollars to be invested?
Because you, the consumer, have the power that companies need and the more you buy, the more power you give.