Continued from part one here.
Many factors come into the fold for consideration within this movement. It is international, moderate in size, and growing. Tragedies such as the Rana Plaza collapse, was the largest garment factory accident in history with over 1,000 dead and more than 2,500 injured. Others were the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911 and the Pakistan Garment Factory Fires in 2012. This implies human rights, worker rights, and, in many instances, women’s and children’s rights. What are the importance of human rights and worker rights in this new movement, and to the garment industry?
The problem that dictates this is the desire of people wanting to purchase cheap things and always wanting to have newness that has created this issue. The people that get squeezed out are the garment workers in 3rd world countries and by continuing to produce in this fast fashion type of manner; consumers are potentially contributing to human slavery without having the knowledge. They are contributing to the environmentally harmful and physical outcomes by purchasing these items.
There is a cycle that happens and by understanding this process you are able to create a solution. We have viewed this problem from the outside and have worked backwards. We start with paying our workers a fair living wage, we have a clean healthy environment for them to work in, we then purchase fabrics that would either be thrown away or are sustainable or ecofriendly, and from this we are able to create quality garments that will last more than ex 4-8 washes.
What fast fashion has created, is setting such a low price point that everyone feels the need to sell at and what we needed to figure out is how to meet that price point but also making it ethical. The solution was to leverage technology, educating our workers and streamlining manufacturing and sell direct to consumer. By cutting out inventory and all the middlemen that take a percentage before it gets to the end user, we are able to sell as a ethical alternative to fashion at a wholesale price point but also keeping the products at a quality price.
Women and children are the majority of the exploited and violated work forces. What about the status of women’s and children’s rights as well? Children are the most vulnerable population. Women tend to have less status than men in societies including the right to decent working conditions, decent pay, to vote, to acquire an education, and to be self-sufficient. What is the relationship between the need to implement women’s rights and children’s rights, which have existed for a long time, in this domain of the working world? Child labour and slavery are problems, major ones. These include children throughout the world. Tens of millions of children in the case of child labour and a few million for child slavery. How can individuals get the word out about these other rights violations?
The previous 3 questions we feel are relatable and can be tied together as a whole. It is initially a humanitarian problem and the only way to solve it is by educating the end consumer and having them choose to spend their dollars on brands that are making a difference. Prior to YSTR, there haven’t been any brands that are creating a sustainable line with the contemporary design at the price point we are offering at.
This problem only exists with the lack of educating the public of the manufacturing process and having no alternative options. We as a society need to educate ourselves and think about the purchases we make and demand a change.
How can individuals, designers, fashion industries, and consumers begin to work to implement those rights so that these vulnerable populations in many countries of the world have better quality of life?
Fast fashion brands have created a norm and a foundation of what is being sold and at an unbeatable price point. At the end of the day, it is brands like us, even thought we are small, we need to get the visibility and have people educated and address the change. The investments in our clothes go beyond just the garment lasting a long time but it is supporting every humanitarian aspect as well.
By stating the facts and giving the consumers an alternative option, they are able to slowly implement these changes into their daily lifestyle choices. Once brands start seeing a movement with sustainability, more companies will follow. We are the trailblazers in starting something new.
What topics most interest you?
Sustainability, the environment, technology, fashion, design, architecture
What personal fulfillment comes from this work for you?
Being the change and being able to create and inspire people through our clothes and offering them a better alternative that is ethical
What other work are you involved in at this point in time?
Only this, because this is what we believe in.
Any feelings or thoughts in conclusion?
Sometimes it takes the power of one to make a difference to blaze a trail for others to see that there is opportunity to create change. The earth that we have is spaceship earth, the more we mind burn and pollute, there will be a point we wont have something that is beautiful and pristine, it is now that we need to do something about cleaning up the environment.