One area of slow, intentional living that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, is ethical fashion. As my personal philosophy has shifted towards one focused on sustainability, equality, social justice and humanity it’s become clear that the things we buy, the places we spend our money, the companies we support, matter. And they matter a great deal.
Recently someone told me that the fashion industry is second only to oil in terms of environmental pollution, and it floored me. All that for clothes? Clothes that almost all of us own too many of, buy without consideration, and donate without wearing more than a handful of times? Clothes that are, to us at least, cheap and disposable?
There is something fundamentally broken with that system, and while I think a lot of it could be eased by simply wanting and buying far less, there is still a massive disconnect between those of us who buy the clothes and those who make the clothes.
Child labour, substandard and blatantly unsafe work conditions, huge environmental impact, and we simply don’t think about it.
This is another deep-dive episode of the poggie, where I chat with Mel Tually, the co-ordinator of Fashion Revolution in Australia and NZ.
Fashion Revolution was started in response to the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in Bangladesh, where more than 1,100 garment workers perished. The tragedy shone a bright light on the garment industry and the substandard conditions many of the workers are forced to endure, in the name of cheap, fast fashion.
We talk about the importance of ethical fashion and the transparency that is starting to appear in many well-known labels around the world. But we also talk about the importance of being intentional with the choices we make, opting for quality over quantity (or brand name, for that matter) and simply buying less fashion.
Mel also has some fantastic advice for those of us who feel completely overwhelmed by the problems facing the fashion industry, and the inevitable paralysis by analysis when we begin to look a little deeper into the clothes we wear.
Thank you to everyone who submitted questions for this episode too. There were some incredible ones asked over on Facebook, and we have some super helpful and practical advice for you throughout this episode, including what red flags to look for, where to find ethical fashion and how to take care of the clothes we own in order to keep them for longer.
Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!