(bottoms by @mikayogawear)
Last week was Fashion Revolution week, and although I talked a lot about the fashion industry on my Instagram, I thought I’d give a little recap here to put all the information in one place.
Thousands of ethical companies raised their voices last week, posting pictures of the people who work for them proudly displaying “I made your clothes” signs. Social media influencers shared colorful graphics, posted carefully curated outfits, and flipped their clothing inside out to display their tags and ask their favorite companies “who made my clothes?” So… what’s the big hoopla?
Ethical fashion may seem like a millennial trend, but it’s also increasingly necessary in today’s world. The new Fashion Revolution recognizes this, and is leading a global resistance against “fast fashion”. But why?
Global clothing production has more than doubles since 2000. Factories around the world are being pushed to deliver more and more clothes with faster and faster turn arounds and cheaper and cheaper prices. But it is the planet and the people who make our clothes who are praying the price.
It’s up to us to demand something better from our fashion industry. We need to:
- Ask our favorite brands “who made my clothes?” and let them know we care about the faces behind the garments.
- Stop buying from the “fast fashion” industry and opt instead for ethical brands.
- Search for “fair trade” labels. They meant hat both the people and the planet were well taken care of in the production process.
- Don’t dismiss ethical clothing as “too expensive”. Instead, aim to buy fewer items of higher quality clothing.
On that last note, did you know that in the USA alone, 10.5 million tons of nothing is sent to the landfill every year? The average person buys 60% more clothing and keeps them for about half as long as they did 15 years ago. 40% of the clothes we buy are rarely or never worn.
Our fashion industry and culture of waste are seriously harming our environment and the people who are being forced to make our clothes at higher and higher volumes for cheaper and cheaper prices.
WE as individuals need to step up and make a difference in the way we buy, wear, recycle, and dispose of fashion. Every year you continue to wear the same article of clothing rather than being a new version lessens the burden on our landfills and reduces emissions over the year by 24%.
- Repair damaged clothing or find a place to recycle the fabric.
- If you need a specific article of clothing, borrow or threat it.
- When you must buy new, invest in ethical “basics”, like neutrals that won’t go out of style year after year or high quality pieces that can be worn multiple seasons.
Set a new standard: If you cannot find out how a company treats their laborers, think twice before buying from them. If they were for sure treating workers fairly, the information would be readily available and proudly displayed. The truth is that most companies don’t even know the situation of the people who make their clohtes… It’s rooted too deep down in their supply chains, handled by distant managers and strategically overlooked. But it’s time that companies stop ignoring these injustices. It’s time for transparency, accountability, and change. And it’s time for us, the consumers, to demand it!
- Use www.projectjust.com to search brands before you buy from them.
- Head over to @fash_rev to learn the 32 fashion brands (out of the major 100) that publish their supplier lists, for at least tier one, in the name of transparency.
- Relentlessly ask your favorite brands, who made my clothes?
One of my favorite Insta accounts, @ethicalmadeeasy, said something that has stuck with me: “Sometimes all it takes is taking a stand for what you think is an injustice in the world for change to be made. Not just small change either, but change that future generations will consider common sense.”
There’s no doubt our fashion industry is seriously harming our environment and the people who make our clothes, but we need not wait on corporations or governments to fix the problem for us. We need two things:
- A shift in mindset, a radical denunciation of the materialistic consumerism that brought us here.
- Incredible support for the companies and brands that are doing it right— treating people fairly, and taking care of the environment.
What we wear matters. Saying “no” to fast fashion, to throwing away clothes, to buying new unnecessarily… these are revolutionary acts.
Joining the fashion revolution is one way I take my yogi life off the mat. Yoga was always intended to be a lifestyle, a way of moving through this world with love and light and intention. The deep connection we develop to self is meant to foster a deep connection to our fellow humans, our common home, the Divine that moves in and through all of us.
We all know how yoga works to slow down our physical and emotional reactions and responses to triggers in this world. But do we also let it extend into consciousness in our everyday lives? Creating space between an old compulsory purchase and a new conscious one? Adding intention to what we eat and what we wear and what we buy with our money?