Alexandra N Muntean
- 7 Posts
- Age 20
Fashion is a part of who we are. It is a part of our personal style and of the definition of our beings. It is, I dare to say, even indispensable when describing a person, because it offers a lot of hints of how the one in front of you might be or might behave. I am not saying you can determine the entire personality of someone through fashion, but still a considerable part of it. Now, having said that, I also want to add that our way of consuming fashion and the type of fashion we consume says a lot about ourselves, even if we don’t necessary realize it.
To open your eyes and raise awareness, I want to ask you a “little” question: Do you know how your clothes were made or more exactly who made them?
Many of us may not have an answer to this question, because asking ourselves where clothes come from might not have seemed that interesting or it simply never was a topic of discussion. Well, it should. The cost of fashion and of producing clothes is high. I don’t only refer to money or finances, but the true cost: human lives.
5 years ago, a tragedy happened in Bangladesh: 1,138 people died and another 2,500 were injured in the collapse of the Rana Plaza building, making it “the fourth largest industrial disaster in history” (according to www.fashionrevolution.org). The Rana Plaza was a building which was home to 5 clothing factories, all producing items for big global brands. These workers who lost their life in this tragedy were working in unsafe conditions and the paycheck they received couldn’t even cover their minimal life expenses.
In the wake of such events, I ask myself why these people should pay the price for the success of fashion. I took long to realize how my fashion behavior is linked to this kind of tragedy and in that moment, I knew I needed to make a change. Both my parents worked in the textile industry in Romania and through their experiences, I came to understand how a clothes factory works, how clothes are produced and most importantly, where and in what conditions. The situation in Romania might not be as extreme as in Bangladesh, but it is not worth ignoring. Considering the price, the fashion products have on the market and the quality these workers provide, they deserve to be treated better: fair wages, proper working conditions and respect. Sadly, they don’t always receive it. Workers in this industry are being exploited, abused and their human rights are not taken into account. They live in poverty and struggle to survive, while the brands have major success. The only things some brands care for is their profit.
After learning about these habits of big brands I used to shop from, I knew it was time for a change. At least concerning my shopping habits and the way I treated clothes, because now I knew what producing clothes involves. It may not be obvious, because when we shop, the product is ready to wear, but it carries a story behind it, not always a happy one. Our clothes have a long way before they hit the stores: from the farmers to material makers, from dyers to sewers and the ones who pack and deliver them: It might sound extreme, but when you buy clothes, you should think about their stories and destiny.
I decided it was time for a revolution and this is how my revolution looks like:
1. I began thinking about where my clothes are made. It is usually written on the etiquette, if you are willing to look for it, and if not, it’s worth a quick research.
changed the places I shop from and fell in love with the world of vintage
clothing: the concept of reusing clothes, of not throwing clothes away and
giving old clothes a new life. A great experience of discovering fashion
treasures, from times when the clothes were made by tailors and not in mass
3. I started looking from brands who promote fair trade and produce their clothing ethically, durable, sustainable fashion.
The next steps are yet to come, but I plan to play my role in promoting this kind of change and try to inspire people to start their own revolution, just like I did. This article was one of these following steps.
We live on this planet and we have a responsibility to protect it, we can’t just look away and be a part of the disasters that happen, even in the fashion world. So, take a step towards a change in this industry, if you believe that fashion should be sustainable, not destructive, Fair and not the reason of injustice. If you believe that fashion should look and be consumed differently, join the revolution.