Fashion in Life
Does anyone know what this mushroom-looking thing in the featured picture does? Back in the day, my mother would use this ‘mushroom sock darner’ to repair my father’s socks. She still has it, but I think she stopped using it in the 1990’s. I was raised with the idea that fashion was defined by well-made, long-lasting clothing. My…how things have changed.
Truthfully, I was inspired to write this post after I had learned that there will be more American jobs outsourced overseas if the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) passes.
NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China, and other free trade agreements have helped drive down the wages and benefits of American workers and have eroded collective bargaining rights. The TPP will make the race to the bottom worse because it forces American workers to compete with desperate workers in Vietnam where the minimum wage is just 56 cents an hour.
There are a variety of items manufactured overseas. To make my point, I am going to focus on clothes. We all need them, most really want them, and many of us have a lot of them.
Why focus on clothes?
As we all know, fashion is ever-changing. Regardless of your style, I believe it is up to everyone to educate themselves on the transparency of our clothes. While surfing the internet or listening to the news, you might have noticed that many clothing manufacturers have been linked to multiple labor violations.
as Americans, we seem to be blinded by low prices and are striving to keep up with ever-changing trends. Think about the true cost of extremely cheap clothing and check out the following video on fashion. I realize it’s 17 minutes long, but it’s well worth the viewing.
According to the United States Department of Labor, there are many factories in places like Argentina, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. (By the way, American sweatshops are just as deplorable). However, I feel it’s important to note that the process of making clothes does not begin in a factory. Cotton, a widely used crop in the fashion industry, begins with planting seeds that goes to cotton to yarn to fabric to garment. Children, of all ages, are sadly a part of the entire process.
In the cotton industry, children are employed to transfer pollen from one plant to another. They are subjected to long working hours, exposure to pesticides and they are often paid below the minimum wage. In developing countries where cotton is one of the main crops, children are enlisted to help harvest the delicate crop and reports suggest they work long hours sowing cotton in the spring, followed by weeding through the summer months.” – 2013 FINDINGS ON THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR
If it were up to me,
people, animals and our environment would be treated with the utmost respect. Turns out it’s not up to me and those unethically made clothes exist. Our landfills are filled with proof. According to The Atlantic,
Americans now buy five times as much clothing as they did in 1980. (These numbers mirror national averages: Americans recycle or donate only 15 percent of their used clothing, and the rest—about 10.5 million tons a year—goes into landfills, giving textiles one of the poorest recycling rates of any reusable material.)
What can we do?
There are many websites that offer fabulous suggestions. Check out the following;
5 Ways to Shop Ethically on a Budget How to shop ethically: 10 tips for reducing your fashion footprint, now!
Our wardrobe tells a story whether we like it or not.
The International Labor Organization estimates that, 170 million are engaged in child labour with many making textiles and garments to satisfy the demand of consumers in Europe, the US, and beyond.
Bottom line, when you spend your money you are making a decision to support whatever comes along with that item. You are showing the world what matters to you. You are supporting anything that company does. You are voting yes to many political, environmental and social concerns.
Please, scream loudly with your dollar to stop some of the worst forms of child labor.
Children are seen as obedient workers who slip under the radar, making them easy to manage. According to Sofie Ovaa, global campaign coordinator of Stop Child Labour, “There is no supervision or social control mechanisms, no unions that can help them to bargain for better working conditions. These are very low-skilled workers without a voice, so they are easy targets.” UNICEF
If you allow the TPP to pass, you are voting yes to supporting modern day slavery. Now that we know better, don’t you think we can make better choices from here on out?
By the by, I found the featured image of this post on Etsy.com. Cool huh?!