Buy sustainable. Buy vintage.
But really, there are many avenues for people trying to buy more ethically. And there are many layers to creating and promoting an ethical lifestyle.
First, we have to change the way we think about clothing. We don’t need as much as we have. We don’t need to buy a whole new wardrobe every season. Calculate what you spend on clothing each year and see if you can save that money for a few fair trade purchases instead of a dozen fast fashion ones.
I tend to use thrift shopping as my nicotine-patch while I sort out my shopping addiction. We’ve been encouraged to impulse shop on the fast fashion market’s 5 week trend schedule, which makes it rather difficult for some of us to put off purchases when the next shopping season comes around. If I feel I really want or need something, I try to find it on the secondhand market instead of running to my nearest Gap or Forever 21. I rely heavily on Goodwill, local consignment stores, ebay, and thredup for my shopping fix.
Now that I’m starting to consume in a more sustainable fashion, I realize that the next step is lobbying companies and governments to change their manufacturing practices and regulations. People in Bangladesh don’t want us to stop buying from them; they just want to be treated like human beings. We shouldn’t force megacorporations to leave developing countries; we should put pressure on them to improve and monitor production practices. Personally, I believe we should stop shopping at places that have unethical practices, but we also need to tell them why we’re doing it.
Sustainable megacorporation is an oxymoron because corporations thrive on overproduction and waste. So, in the long run, we still need to cut down on clothing consumption overall. We also need to remember where raw materials come from and how they’re produced. It’s a long, convoluted road, but each step forward makes a difference.
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Happy Fashion Revolution Day!