The other day I watched all 5 episodes of Sweatshop – Dead Cheap Fashion. In this documentary, 3 fashion lovers from Norway, go to Cambodia to experience first hand how their clothes are made and under what conditions the workers in sweatshops live.
The things they found out weren’t very surprising to me. The workers have very little, they’re hungry and they could never afford to buy any of the items they make. The work long hours of tedious labor, for incredibly low pay.
We all know this is going on, so why isn’t anything changing? I think for the most part, people just prefer to look the other way. Now I’m not judging. I realize all too well how our society works. There’s pressure to look your best, and wear fashionable clothing. We like to think our clothes weren’t made in sweatshops. We like to pretend it’s not our money, funding these practices. We like to tell ourselves, this is not something we can do anything about, and go on with our lives. But we’re wrong now aren’t we?
There’s so much we could be doing, no matter our budget or social standing. Personally, I don’t have a lot of money to spend on clothes. I do however, love clothes and fashion. I actually used to write a fashion blog for a while. I like having a style of my own, and to be honest, the maternity clothes I have are starting to bore the heck out of me. However, I know my baby will be here in three months, and hopefully the weather will pick up before that and I’ll be able to wear dresses and skirts again. I got my maternity clothes second hand for free, and I’ll be sure to pass them on to the next pregnant lady.
Getting clothes second hand is my my low budget solution to this issue. I’m not investing my money in businesses that own sweatshops or pollute the planet. If I can’t find something second hand, I try to make it myself. I haven’t been sewing a lot lately, but when the baby is born I intent to pick it back up. It’s an other way to just not be a part of the fast fashion industry.
If I were to have a bigger budget however, there’d be something else I could do. I could buy Fair Trade. Fair trade items are exactly what the name suggests, fair! The workers making these items are paid a fair wage for the work they do. Fair trade items are also held up to a higher standard when it comes to environmental impact, so it’s a win-win, really. I’m sure with a little research you can find many fair trade initiatives to buy your clothes from. Since the workers are paid enough to actually lead decent lives, the clothing is a bit more expensive from what you may be used to. However, it is definitely worth investing in if you can spare the money. It’s initiatives like these that can change the world. So let’s make a difference.
If you’re interested, you can find the documentary here. Be sure to start with episode 1. I know the subs aren’t all that, but they’re good enough to understand what everyone is saying. It’s worth checking out and the episodes take about 10 minutes each, so you can watch the whole thing in an hour.
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