I am just so profoundly saddened after waking up this morning and hearing about what has happened in Bangladesh, with the factory collapsing and killing at least 238 people.
And, I am really trying to make sense of it.
WHAT has happened to us here in North America to make us think that getting cheap clothing is worth another human being's life?
WHY do we feel that we are so entitled to pay next to nothing for what we wear- even if that comes at a cost to someone else on the other side of the earth?
And, you can be sure- there IS a cost. It is paid by the employees that work 10 hour work days with no relief. It is paid with the unsafe work conditions that those workers have to walk into everyday. It is paid by the mothers that need to leave their families and travel to the city in order to send money home for their loved ones to survive.
It was paid by the 112 human beings that died in the factory fire in Bangladesh a mere 5 months ago.
Has anything changed since THAT tragedy? Sadly, it appears not.
Friends, we NEED to stop demanding that we only pay a few measly dollars for each of our items of clothing. (I am in no way implying that more expensive clothing is free and clear, btw...many of the pricier-brands use the exact same factories...just with a higher mark-up) Instead, we NEED to start demanding that the health and safety concerns for our brothers and sisters in poorer countries be a priority for us, our governments and for these clothing companies.
So- what can WE do?
Again, I do not claim to have all of the answers. I am merely a hairstylist/mother who has a heart for the oppressed and mistreated in this world.
It was in reading about Bangladesh and the conditions/ treatment of it's workers a few years ago that caused me to begin my Never New second-hand lifestyle. I just didn't feel right owning any article of clothing that contributed to such things.
So, I decided that I would simply not buy anything new. I wouldn't support an industry that could cause such tragedy. It's not an easy choice, and I am not saying it's for everyone. But it works for me. (Other posts on deciding to go Never New here and here)
YOU could check the tags of the clothing you buy. Know where these places are, and how they treat their workers. Try to purchase only locally-made apparel or items made in countries that don't cut corners and put their citizens at risk.
YOU could simply choose to BUY LESS. The less we buy, the less that needs to be manufactured.
YOU could buy second hand now and then. Buying second hand cuts back on new clothing that needs to be manufactured AND it reduces waste to landfills. It also allows you to be creative and original in what you wear. ;)
YOU could raise awareness by talking about these issues with others and asking questions. We need to get educated about what is going on in our world....how we contribute to it....how we can start trying to prevent it....
To read more about this tragedy and the specific clothing brands involved, check out George Stromboulopoulos' post 'Fast Fashion, Western Retailers & The Bangladesh Building Collapse' here.
To read one of my previous posts on the benefits of the Slow Fashion Movement, you can check that out here.
I really hope you've been inspired begin to question where our stuff comes from and how we can try to make a small difference....