Day 2 of the Tortoise & Grey 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge has me pondering my relationship with clothes. Easier said than done since I have loved clothes for as long as I can remember! I dedicated my career to it and spare time with random sewing projects. Once I learned to sew I made everything I could; skirts, tops, pants, dresses, shorts, pajamas, etc...
Once I realized I could make a career out of it I made a plan to study apparel design/manufacturing in college. I've worked for several companies, big and small, learning a lot about the good and bad of the apparel industry. One of my favorite thoughts is that every culture has it's own apparel industry. It's something that we all have in common is that we all wear clothes!
That said industry can either help it's people or take advantage of them. I will never forget my first trip to apparel factories in China when I saw how the workers live. It was totally commonplace to live in dormitories in the factory complex sharing tight quarters with their coworkers sharing a small space to use the bathroom and bunk beds. It amazed me that these quarters passed our inspection and were a totally normal thing. I thought about what people back home would think it we had to live like this!
That realization and all the bad press the apparel industry receives about poor working conditions made me start to think more before I buy. When I see inexpensive clothes I think about how they came to that price and who was exploited for it. I started looking for companies that are doing things right and building their communities and supporting their people. It definitely takes more time and effort but I feel much better about where I put my money and who I choose to support. When I need something new it takes a little more research and advance planning but it's worth it. Since I read up on sustainability topics I make notes on a pinterest board of companies that meet my values. If I can't find something or I really get the urge to browse instead of heading to the mall I head to the local vintage and resale shops.
I look forward to learning more on this 20 day challenge and hearing other people's success stories. Hope you can join me; sign up here!
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