What Is Ethically Made & Why Should I Care?
We are living in a moment in time of great disconnection, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear, we are completely disconnected to the process it takes to produce what we consume. Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar…. we rarely understand the conditions of work, and the social implications of having our clothes made in those places. Shiny new clothes with their luxury packages (as I like to call it, luxury trash) and the whole shopping experience, has become completely addictive and never ending. I like to give the example of the “Women Power” and “Feminist” printed t-shirts, which are usually made outside of the US in one of the countries mentioned above, and which are made by women who are making approximately $1.50-$3.00 an hour, working in unsafe conditions, where there are reports of verbal and in some cases physical abuse. Working from 50-60 hours a week there women have no time to rest, and because they mostly live in patriarchal societies which place the burden of cooking, cleaning and child caring, most women who make our clothes literally never stop working. Theres absolutely nothing feminist about a t-shirt made by a woman who is suffering so much.
These women, report food insecurity in great numbers: 56-60% of them report going hungry to bed at least once a month. They also report chronic pains caused from the position of sitting on the sewing machine for so many hours and lack of movement during working hours. In addition there are reports of verbal and in some cases physical abuse by employers.
Fashion as an institution has taught us to keep these truths a secret, the fact that we are just beginning to question ourselves and understand the sad reality says a lot about the secretive condition of the industry. People feeding our fast fashion addiction are human beings with real lives and real needs, just like us. In a world that I constantly hear talks about karma and good vibes, and feminism, its time we take a stand and realize that ethical fashion is the only way that as a society we can continue to love and wear fashion.
Here are some things you can do: question your brands @fash_rev has great tips and a platform which directly emails you concerns to brands. They also created the hashtag: #whomademyclothes so that you pressure brands to check their production processes and help create awareness. You can also shop for designers who are made ethically, or up and coming designers…
We are proud to say that our clothes are all made ethically in India. We make sure that women are paid the same as men, and that conditions are safe and clean. Our friend from ajaie alaie, was the one to introduce us to our factory and she goes numerous times to India and works from the factory. I’m personally in touch with Anshika (you can see her in the photo below with the black t-shirt) she’s my design director, the one who helps me translate my designs from paper to reality.
I’m so proud to be able to work with them, and create a revolution. Sure my clothes take longer to make, and in some cases I get customers complaining about my “high prices”- we are not much more expensive than zara: a shirt by our brand is $115, a zara shirt on average its $60, so I don’t consider our prices high. Those extra $40 are the price we pay for respecting workers, the environment and ourselves. To me, the only way to make clothes is ethically, the only way to create fashion is by respecting who made my clothes, and respecting the environment, my customers and my ethics…
I would LOVE to hear your comments! please leave a comment below and tell us what you think!