By: Cristina Mejía.
Have you heard this term before? Fast fashion.
Fast fashion is when retailers create clothing lines very quickly, copying runway designs, using cheap materials and a cheap workforce. By doing this, people buy constantly, throw away lots of clothing without much use. This encourages hand labor to become cheaper and cheaper.
This fast fashion industry is a monster that is contributing to the destruction of our planet.
Why? because it creates huge amounts of waste, which ends up in landfills....which contributes to the garbage problem our world currently has.
Also, retailers get their hand labor from very poor people, who are subject to near-slavery type work, all for the sake of trends and being fashionable. I will talk about the environmental and slavery issues here.
Why slavery? people that make clothing in factories located countries such as in Sri Lanka, India and China are paid,on average, less than a dollar a day for their 16 plus hours of work. So, if you don´t consider that slavery, then I really don´t know any other term that could apply.
Yes, those people need a job to provide for themselves and families. But, do they need to work that hard for so little? Can there be fair work practices?
Some of these people have raised their voices and complained about it, but they ended up being beaten up in a dark room by their employers. There is no room for complaints for them. They either take those very-low paid jobs or starve.
Now, the environmental issue of more waste. There are companies that manage waste specifically coming from clothing. Fashion is becoming disposable. People get more and more clothes day by day. This is consumerism mentality. Our planet is ill and more waste only contributes to that.
The dark side of fashion is that it can be ruthless, selfish and self-centered.
I know that not everyone involved in fashion has this mentality. Many people do it because, for them, it is an outer expression of their creativity, a way to express their individuality. That is perfectly ok, of course. Many others use ecological products, organic products, such as cotton and silk. There are also small businesses improving their local environment. They use their power as a force for change and to make a positive impact in our world, through what is called, sustainable fashion. They have all my admiration and respect.
We may have been blind many times before, but when we know better, we have to do better. I used to buy cheap clothes too, they had cool designs and I could get a lot more for my money...but I didn´t stop to think where it all came from and what were the consequences of my actions.
Now that we are becoming more aware of our reality, we should take better steps forward, to be more accountable for the actions we take and their effects on others.
As I have mentioned before, we have choices. We can choose to do good or we can choose to not do "good". Just because you are not mistreating somebody directly doesn´t mean you are not contributing to the problem.
Be the change, be that step forward and use your power wisely, with love and compassion for our brothers and sisters and this great, beautiful Earth.