Dare we Question our Consumption ?
Yeah, i know girl. "Cant we just ignore it.. ? I mean can my choices REALLY make an impact in the grand scheme of things? I REALLY want that 12$ top from Forever 21, its only 1 top, and its gonna go PERFECT with the look i want to wear out on Saturday."
Probably similar to a conversation we have all had in our own minds, when we just absolutely NEED that piece, cause were tryna SLAY at the event this weekend. Cant we just look past the fact of where it was made, just this time.. Can you relate? Im here to be true, and authentic, and I can definitely relate.
Confessions of a shopoholic in Recovery speaking, live from my Studio. Where, shit just got real. I put on a documentary about the Fashion Industry while i was working, titled "The true Cost" look it up. I love to learn and listen to interesting things while i work, but I could barely work as i felt I could not look away from the awful truth of fashion. Let me tell you girlfriend, Shit. Got. Real. First I felt RAGE that people just do not care, then I felt sad for these people, all of us really. Were all intertwined. I felt absolutely hopeless, I felt inspired, conflicted, I felt the fire ignite under my ass, and I felt dam ready to say loud and proud my truth, our truth, our reality. A reality we have created. A reality we DO hold the power to change.
Where to begin? So many things, so many horrible consequences of our human greed. Were euphoric, we salivate, and the thought of stuff, things, cars, houses, its pathetic, honestly. We don't ever question, most of us anyway. And we need to, we need to start now. We are the change, we are here, and what the hell are we waiting for ? Let me paint a picture for you sister friend.
As recently as the 1960s, 95% of US clothing was still made right here in the US. Today only 3% is, leaving the other 97% outsourced to developing countries where workers are taken advantage of, and paid an average of 2$ a day, under horrible and downright inhumane working conditions. 80% of these workers are woman. This reality lends way to tragic events like the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh which killed 1,135 garment workers in the country’s worst industrial disaster.
We've all heard of "sweatshops" we all probably have a similar image in our head when we think about it, but its so much worse than we want to believe. It goes so much deeper than sweatshops. Its honestly such a multi faceted problem, which leaves hap hazard consequences spewing in all forms in this life. From the poor people who are taken advantage of, the workers who have no better option, to the cotton farmers growing the actual fiber used to produce the clothing. In the past 10 years 80% of cotton has been turned into GMO cotton, which isn't only bad for you, its even worse for the farmers having to work around these chemicals, there family, there communities. Literally leading directly to cancer, birth defects, and all sorts of health issues.
Which takes us to the actual poisoning of the soil, of our land, which we should be respecting, we are again abusing. Then to the waste, the excess consumption. The average American throws away 82 lbs of textile waste each year, adding up to 11 million tons of textile waste from the US alone, most non biodegradable, meaning it sits in land fills for up to 200 yrs releasing harmful gases into the air. To the toxic dyes that end up in our water systems, mostly the waterways of those developing countries like Bangladesh and Cambodia, and of course this is a huge issue in china. There was a incident in China in 2012 of the Yangtze River turning red, again in 2014 due to illegeal dumping of toxic dyes from yes, clothing manufactures. Surprised? Closer to home, ocean pollution, caused by just washing our clothes.
"An estimated 1,900 microfibers can get rinsed out of a single piece of synthetic clothing each time it's washed, and these microplastic fibers might be the biggest contributors to ocean pollution."
Did you know all those clothes we takes to donate, only a small percent are actually sold in local thrift stores? What happens to things when they are not sold, well .. most of them are shipped off to developing countries like Haiti for example.. starting to see a pattern here ? Maybe that sounds nice to you, oh we are helping them and giving them clothes, to an extent, but when it becomes such excess, which it is right now, we are purely pawning our waste off to them. You see? Its the excess, its the consumption, the greed, the need for instant gratification that they have trained us to constantly "need" more more more. I feel there lies the root of a lot of the issue.
Sad story right ? Thats our reality, and only a tiny little glimpse into the problems created by the Fast Fashion Industry. So now, on the brighter side, we as consumers, hold the power. We get to choose what we believe in, what we buy into. Ever heard that phrase, "you vote with your dollar?" Its so dam true. we really do. Change may not happen over night, but it all starts with just becoming conscious of the reality, aware, and becoming very intentional with our consumption. Taking 10 seconds to really give it a second thought. Fashion should never be thought of as a disposable product. Rather, it should be looked at as an investment.
Coming from the ex shopaholic herself, really it was only the past year or two I have started changing my habits and perception of "clothing", of shopping. The road to recovery is a quite long, winding road. I still am not perfect with this. But it feels good to have so much awareness, and control of my spending. No longer giving into impulses. To give you a peek into my reality, I live down the street from a goodwill and I definitely use to go there all the time, especially when i was having a bad day, which was often, as a way to lift my spirits. Fill my cart way to full, and walk out with way to much stuff. I remember always thinking but its goodwill how am i spending almost 100$ every time i go? I thought "Atleast Im not shopping at the mall" "i'm saving money and recycling clothes" .. looking back, thats a way to help the issue but i still hadnt realized the root of this, which is the careless consumption, greed, instant gratification, non intentional purchases. So many things I never even wore or just sent back to goodwill eventually. Im not here to preach, cause i'm not perfect, if your looking for Queen of sustainability, keep looking, thats not me! hah, i can only do my best, Queen of doing my best, and I hope to inspire others to the same. If we all can just try, that in itself would have massive impact. I want that to be said loud and clear! I just want to give light to the issue, provide solutions for reasonable change, be a voice and be an example of someone living it.
Truth is girl that top isn't going to make you happy, you don't need it, and quite frankly you can slay your event without it, I promise you..
Theres a whole other story to be told about our psychological relationship to our clothing. Story for another time. And not to get all woo-woo but i am so here I go, Maybe you disagree, but i believe everything holds a vibration, our clothing falls under that "everything" category. Thats why it feels better when you wear clothing that is made in small batchs or hand made by one single person.
I challenge you to be extremely intentional with everything you purchase, for two weeks, a month if your feelin yourself. Indefinitely if your a ballsy babe ready to ignite change.
Some action steps everyone could practice.
Bring awareness, got to your closet and pick up the first 5 things you see. Where did it come from? When did you buy it? whens the last time you wore it? do you consider it valuable ? Do you even like anymore? Look up a few of your favorite brands and see how and where they manufacture there clothing. Just so your a bit more informed, a bit more aware, and can start associating the two together. Flashy fabulous, CHEAP, clothing, and broken people in developing countries being taken advantage of... its one in the same sister, only we only ever see half the reality, the other half being swept under the rug.
Take action, find ways you can upcycle clothes your ready to give away, maybe cutting an old tshirt into dish rags, or a new headband for your workouts. Make a cute wall hanging with fabric scraps. Wash your clothes less, ever thrown something into the washer even though it was probably clean just cause it was easiest? I know Im guilty. Hang dry your clothes, fluff for 5 minutes if you want too after there dry.
Be intentional, next time your about to make a purchase ask yourself why it is that you want this item, what are you hoping to feel by having it? What is your return on investment? Will you wear it all the time forever, or just once or twice maybe? Do you need it for a reason, or just want it? Is it your style, or is it just cute? Is there a more sustainable alternative? Getting into the habit of this will allow you to ultimately save money, have less clutter and crap lying around, and hopefully leave your closet filled with long time love affairs in fabric form, rather than a bunch of stuff with nothing to actually wear. You can really develop your style rather than just buying stuff cause its "cute and only 10 bucks" ... hmmm.
As in everything in life sweet babes, its all about intention.. we must really bring awareness back to the fashion industry, it seems silly, but we really can make an impact. Especially if we work together, a sisterhood for change, have a clothing swap with local babes, get creative in saving the planet an our environment! Most importantly be a voice, talk about it, you don't have to be perfect to bring it up. So many people are just pretty unaware, the more we can make it a THING, the more people wont have a choice but to hear us! So whos got the power? Um, that would be you! Us. Me. Her. Him... lets do this. I dont believe knowledge is power, I believe action is power. A baby step is better than no step.
With love, thank you reading.
Message me on instagram or email me at > firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think of this blog, this info! Did you already know this? did you find out something new? were you inspired? what steps have you taken towards change, anything that wasn't talked about? I would love to know and hear about what this brought up for you.
Lily Belle xx