We remember concern over unethical manufacturing processes for big corporate brands like Nike and Gap. Reports poured in during the 90’s of sweatshop manufacturing and the state of working environments for employees in other countries.
Now, it’s 20 years later and we’re hearing about it again, only it has a new name: Fast Fashion.
The outsourcing of the apparel industry overseas forced many manufacturing companies in Canada and the rest of North America to shut down, some of which had been open for over a century. This results in a loss of jobs and an increase to the environmental cost of global transport.
By moving production to countries with fewer labour standards including low minimum wage, clothing can be made and sold with lower price tags.
Large corporations expect massive orders to be filled on tight deadlines, and will sell their purchase orders to the factory that promises the quickest turnaround. That factory can then, without the corporation’s knowledge, subcontract the order to another factory. And down the rabbit hole we go.
It’s a cycle so damaging that news vlogger John Oliver dedicated a 20 minute segment to it.
Things are shifting. Consumers are starting to vote with their wallets, small manufacturers are starting to approach the apparel industry differently, and boutique shops dedicated to selling these items are popping up in more cities and towns.
As with everything that comes into the store, we’ve done our research on the clothing we carry. This is because we have concerns about what contributing to fast fashion means for our economy and the environment. There are a lot of concerns to choose from but these are our top three reasons to avoid fast fashion.
The good news is you can challenge the fast fashion market by making different choices with your wallet. Here are some things we do, and you can too.
A note about zero waste:
It’s anything but a new concept. During war time when everything was rationed, clothing makers were forced to be creative and reduce their waste. Hemlines went up because of fabric rationing.
Then, after the 2nd world war North American economies were booming and there was less concern about waste. People didn’t have to think about it, so it fell out of favour. The boom equaled excessive waste.
Now here we are, concerned once again about waste. Not because there’s less to go around, but because there’s too much.