Ethical Clothing: What Motivates Us?
It’s the little things you don’t think about until someone asks a question or brings something up and today that happened for me.
Today over coffee sitting with my sister, we were discussing ethical fashion, fair trade and organic clothing. Until about 3 weeks ago my sister, had no clue about how our clothes were made until I started informing her. “Sweatshops” were something of a myth to her, something that was a joke because come on kids don’t really make our clothes. How surprised was she when I showed her pictures that were all over the internet and started telling her about how our clothes were really made. “That’s horrible” she said when I showed her how children were playing in garbage or how a little girl of 9 was making clothes for 14 hours because her parents couldn’t work so she had to.
At first she told me that these pictures were likely photo shopped and that these things didn’t happen. That I was just trying to scare her cause she’s a shopaholic and is constantly buying clothes. She finally believed me when I showed her our blog at Trusted Clothes and new articles on what was going on in our third world countries where most of our clothing are made. We discussed it again, as she had heard about Beyonce’s company in the news, and wanted to know what I thought. I told her my view on it but than she asked “Do you think people actually shop ethically and buy organic clothes because it’s helping those people that make the clothes or do you think their doing it because of all the chemical’s and their just thinking about themselves?”
I have to say I was speechless. I had never thought of it. Do people just buy ethically and organic because of the chemicals from fast fashion because they are thinking of personal health benefits for themselves or is it because they are trying to make a better place? For someone like myself who works at Trusted Clothes that is trying to inform people on fast fashion and how your clothes are really made, it is trying to make the world a better place. Same with everyone else that I work with. But what about everyone else? I will admit our society tends to focus on the self and not what we can do for others. We are a throw away society and not just with clothes but everything from relationships to the things we own. It’s easier to throw something away than fix it.
I remember asking my grandmother once about how her and my grandfather stayed together so long and she said its because back than you fixed things. Now it’s easier to just walk away and start all over again. It’s true. And this idea that we can always walk away and start over can be seen in Fast fashion. Clothing is so cheap that if we get a hole in our t-shirt we simply throw it away and go buy a new one. If we have a pair of shoes and all of a sudden it get a hole in the toe area, what do we do? We throw it away, we don’t try and fix that t-shirt or that pair of shoes, we simply open up our garbage cans and out to the curb it goes.
A lot of my friends and even family members are so concerned on whats in their lotions and creams and even bath soaps that they’re so concerned about what goes in their skin it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they started buying organic and ethically just because of the chemicals that are in our clothing. They would tell me of course it’s because they’re trying to make our world a better place for our children when they grow up. But when I think about it, if I just tell them about the chemicals in those jeans they’re wearing and not how they were made in sweatshops by children, I know they’d be throwing out those jeans and and buying organic jeans.
The more I think about it the more I believe we are an “all about me society”. We are so concerned about ourselves and our own issues we don’t think of anyone else. I even believe that even if you’re a parent, its the same thing. You don’t want those chemicals going into your child’s skin so you’ll make a point of buying ethical clothing. The only difference as parents when you have a son or daughter and you hear about a boy or girl the same age as your child working in a sweatshop, you automatically think “That could be my child doing that” so you also buy ethically for that reason, but those that don’t have children might not be able to relate.
I’m not saying that everyone is just shopping ethically because they only care about themselves, after all I work with the most amazing people that are trying to get the world out about how our clothes are made and the individuals that read our blog’s and the individuals that try and also get the word out. I truly believe that most of the people buying ethically and sustainable are doing it because they know how our clothes are made but it wouldn’t surprise me if the other people that are buying ethically is because they only care about the personal benefits. What do you think? Do you think I’m right or incredibly wrong? I’d like to know what other’s think!