By Nina Ornstein
Did you know the average American throws away 82lbs of textiles annually? I had no idea until I recently attended a very informative event arranged to bring awareness to the Fashion Revolution the world is currently undergoing. This movement brings attention to consumer behavior and to identify who exactly makes our clothes. Just as the slow food movement has grown in popularity over the last five years, slowing down the consumption of fashion is taking a trendy stance in society today. Experts agree that what we are currently experiencing in the food industry is what fashion will be 10 years from now. What does this grassroots movement mean exactly?
The event took place on April 24th, the same day as the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza Factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2013 that tragically resulted in the death of 1,134 workers and injuring 2,500 more. The eloquently curated evening of mingling and an educational panel of speakers left a huge impression on me. Who was involved and what did they teach us? The speakers at Monday’s event want to encourage consumers to consider their purchase habits.
The event was curated and moderated by Thr3efold’s founder Jessica Kelly. On her panel, designers and bloggers discussed this pressing issue. These personalities included Ashley Austin, head designer at Behno, creates an ethically made collection empowering women in India. Alden Wicker is the founder of EcoCult and is an ethical fashion blogger. Carmin Black is the co-founder of Half United, an ethically made jewelry brand fighting hunger. The panel also featured Conscious Magazine founders (and sisters) Elena & Rachael Baxter.
These influential women encouraged us to ask questions and educated ourselves on how the industry is connected to everyone and everything. The main message conveyed was less is more and do your research before buying! Only buy things you love and ask questions such as where is the fabric coming from? Where is the fiber coming from? How are the labels made? How can the system be more localized?
How does the fashion revolution compare to other grassroots movements today? Americans are eating more clean, locally sourced food than ever, and this is mostly because the health benefits involved. The fashion movement may be a little slower because there aren’t direct physical benefits (ie smaller waist, healthy heart). However, the mental and personal health benefits of a closet full of sustainable clothing in invaluable, and when you style yourself correctly with versatile clothing choices, we need far less options than we used to. Hello savings and welcome to traveling with a carry-on suitcase!
Now is the time to stop with our toxic relationship with clothing, meaning our addiction to disposable clothing. Welcome to “The Purge”. What better time than spring time to get rid of things that have bad connotations, bad memories and pieces you really don’t wear anyway. We all have these items lingering in our closet and now is the time to let it all go. Donate used clothing, clear out space and begin to reap the benefits because the truth of the matter is, the fashion industry is seductive but we simply do not need as much as we consume.
Want to show your support? These sustainable and ethical brands are great choices to consider next time you shop:
- Baskets of Cambodia
- Groceries Apparel
- Eileen Fisher
- Soko jewelry
- Saint James
- Under the Canopy
- Ripe Life Wines
- Harmless Harvest
- Together California
Ethical fashion means no slave or child labor, monitoring pollution and waste output and the integrity of facility infrastructure. The fashion industry could take 125 million people out of poverty by adding only 1% of its profits to workers’ wages! Where the food industry has the FDA, the fashion industry doesn’t have any government regulations, so the power lies in the hands of the consumer. Since the Bangladesh catastrophe organizations have come to exist to gain awareness and dedicate funds to improving working conditions. Save your money for travel people! Collect experiences, not things!