fast fashion

Made in Bangladesh: Fast Fashion

 

Picture courtesy of Michael Biach/Transterra Media

I recently saw a very compelling story on products that are made overseas via the Fifth Estate. It was so devastating to see pictures of men and women wrapping their arms together to protect themselves from the debris of a fallen building.  There was no way out.  All the windows were barred, there were very few toilet facilities.  They deal with bad chemical dyes to make the fun cheap fashion we wear.  If you are in Canada (damn I hate geo-blocking sometimes because everyone should see this), the story is online and shows you how hard people are working to make a living and also their poor working conditions.

What is the right answer?  We shouldn’t urge manufacturers to shut out Bangladesh as people need jobs but there has got to be a way we can change their working conditions and wage.  I want to see our wee company make a difference not just buying fair trade and ethical clothing but also just to be able to work with more artisans and companies that are ethically, have fair and safe working conditions.

I came across a story from the Toronto Sun on how she worked in a garment factory as a sewing assistant and her boss was a 9 year old girl.  Their dream was to be a seamstress as it brought a higher income and they would be able to provide for their family. I can’t even imagine relying on my children in about 5 years time to bring  income to our family.  It wasn’t so long ago that here in the US and Canada we also had young children making a living for their family. It still happening though around the world.

There is a happy news. There are more and more companies popping up in providing fun stylish fashionable wear that is ethically made.  Either in the US, Canada or fair trade made around the world. Fair trade is much more than coffee and chocolate now and that’s a good thing.  Ethical Ocean is a great starting point in looking for more ethically made products.  We partnered up with Raven + Lily and Good & Fair  and they produced ethically made clothing, jewelry and accessories. Those are just a few suggestions.  We are always trying to find more sources but I encourage you to check out the links and read the stories of these people who produce your clothing.

Factory Fire, Bangladesh

I’m guilty of it. I was a huge bargain shopper and I feel like I scored when I pick up a dress for only 11 dollars. It’s not even second hand.  I didn’t even think twice about why it was so cheap.  I just thought it was super cute and pretty.

When I read about the building collapse in Bangladesh in which 400 people were killed, I realize just how costly my 11 dollar dress was. I read in an NPR article that only 2% of the clothes are domestically manufactured.  In the 50’s, that percentage 100%.  I can see that.  When I go shopping at the mall, I usually look at the “made in ____” label and often I see China, Guatemala, Bangladesh, India etc.  Companies like Land’s End or Levi’s will have a “limited edition” made in the US clothing and it’s a very small section.

I was on the REI site the other day looking for a shell for my 3 year old and the only thing that was made in the US were socks.  I know there are ethical producers in global markets but I have no real guarantee unless it’s fair trade certified or I happen to know that the artisan producers are paid a fair wage and working under safe conditions with proper breaks.

I have a tough time looking for US made or fair trade certified products for my kids — I think that’s why I’m contemplating sewing more of their clothes or the dream is to design clothes under lilsoak someday.  That would be the dream.

It breaks my heart to know that when I see the cute clothing at Target — that we paid a high cost from an unknown poor factory worker overseas.

We are committed to finding all fair trade certified or USA/Canadian made clothing and accessories and sharing it here on our blog. There are a ton of great UK companies that have fair traded clothing but I have started to find some great US made clothing for kids and adult alike.