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Do You Truly Know What You're Buying?

Dear consumer, 


My name is Emily, I started working at Le Prix a little while ago and in that time my thoughts on many things have changed. I was uneducated. I had no idea just how much buying something from a business could have such a humongous impact. I was naive. If I could tell myself what I know now, I may not have bought from some of the stores I did. Not to mention there’s this misconception that if you're sustainable you can’t be fashionable, which I discovered is not true at all.


To be sustainable is choosing to meet YOUR needs along with saving the earth for YOUR future also known as sustainable development. There are three basic components of sustainability: environmental, economic and social. The environment entails keeping the ecosystem in balance, economics means fitting our needs with enough resources, and social is contributing to a healthy community as well as protecting our rights. A lot of people have many different views of what actions need to be taken in order to slow down the number of resources being wasted, but I think being more aware is a great first step. 


There are three different factors to take into account when buying clothes:, is it ethical, sustainable or fast fashion? You need to avoid buying fast fashion since it eats up our resources at extreme rates and workers are paid unfairly only resulting in clothes being used once and then thrown away to become waste. 


Fast fashion can be found when a company sells very cheap clothes and is constantly selling new collections every other week. They are bad news. The workers make ⅕ of a livable wage since most of the factories are located in foreign countries that don’t have very strict human rights laws. Unfortunately, many companies will advertise to you that they are paying workers minimum wage which is technically true but is very different from the minimum wage we make here.  Furthermore, they are forced to work insane hours, 14 to 16 a day 7 days a week. 


You may say why don’t they just refuse? They’re at risk of losing their jobs and they need more money since they don’t make enough, to begin with. Equally important, their workplace environment is very unsafe, in some places, there is no ventilation and are at risk to inhale toxic chemicals, blasted sands or fibre dust that can cause diseases. Other problems that commonly occur in these places are fires, injuries, verbal and physical abuse, workers get blamed if they don’t complete outrageous daily goals and given consequences, and denied breaks/water.


In Uzbekistan for example, they forced over one million people to quit their jobs or stop going to school to help harvest cotton. In fact, over 168 million children are forced to work against their will since most of the jobs needed for fast fashion are low-skilled. Just as in many countries they aren’t allowed to have a union, this prohibits their abilities to protect their rights as workers. For instance, in Bangladesh, 90% of 4500 garment factories don’t have a registered union. Most workers that want a union are highly discouraged. It can range from threats to physical attacks made against them. Did you know by buying certain products we are actually encouraging these hateful acts towards people? We give them the power to do this and only WE can help change these issues. They make clothes for us and not the other way around. 


Nevertheless, you’re probably thinking to yourself fast fashion is still cheaper and is better for my budget. Unfortunately, that’s not true in the long run. We are actually more inclined to spend MORE money on clothes because fast fashion breaks easily or shrinks in the washing machine since chemicals have been used. Sure it may be cheaper the first time but it eventually adds up and surpasses the amount of money you could have saved from buying sustainable clothes. To illustrate you’re going to be able to wear something that costs more money much longer than something that costs half. In addition, it’s likely that a piece of clothing is going to be much more comfortable to wear since it’s going to be higher quality materials. Thus buying something you’re very satisfied with you’re less likely to impulse buy. Consequently, it’s a great way to test your fashion skills, you can make a whole different outfit by mix and matching. 


Therefore, why not be sustainable? Don’t know where to start? When shopping look at the materials. Good organic materials include hemp, linen, cotton, silk, wool, leather, cellulose fibres or biodegradable dyes. Try to avoid polyester, acrylic or nylon because those materials aren’t biodegradable and cannot be put back into the soil since they have chemicals in them.  Buying from companies such as Le Prix reuses the material that was supposed to go to waste but instead becomes repurposed new products that are new-to-you. Most importantly, buying second-hand products can truly change someone’s life and the environment like you wouldn’t know. 


In summary, your buying power is a lot stronger than you may think it is. Doing something so little as buying a shirt from a fast-fashion company could incite someone to lose their job and be put in stressful situations that are toxic. It benefits no one and can only harm our planet and people. We must say sustainability is the way to go for the major companies to listen. Know what you’re actually paying for, don’t be a part of the problem. 


Hope to see you in the store sometime!


Sincerely, 

Emily

 

 

References

Ellevate. (2019, October 07). Why Sustainable Fashion Matters. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellevate/2019/10/07/why-sustainable-fashion-matters/?sh=10d230dd71b8

Lessler, F. (2019, May 30). What is Sustainable Fashion? (An Introduction and 3 Steps for Getting Started). Retrieved from https://greendreamer.com/journal/what-is-sustainable-fashion

Sustainability - What Is It? Definition, Principles and Examples. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://youmatter.world/en/definition/definitions-sustainability-definition-examples-principles/#google_vignette

Why You Should Start Spending More Money On Clothes: Santander Bank. (2019, October 29). Retrieved from https://thehub.santanderbank.com/start-spending-money-clothes/#:~:text=Quality clothing, while more expensive,on are designed to last

Why You Should Start Spending More Money On Clothes: Santander Bank. (2019, October 29). Retrieved from https://thehub.santanderbank.com/start-spending-money-clothes/#:~:text=Quality clothing, while more expensive,on are designed to last

Working Conditions in the Fashion Industry. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sustainyourstyle.org/old-working-conditions


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