CWE: On The Fast Fashion Debate

Today I wanted to talk quickly about one of the big things that brought me to the idea of utilizing a capsule wardrobe in the first place. This topic is a bit different than the projects that I usually share but to me it is important and I am going to try to keep it brief!

I have mentioned before on my blog that I love a good documentary. They are one of my favorite things to listen to while I am sewing and I will watch a documentary on just about any topic really, I’m not picky. Vegetarianism, the Hoover Dam, weird animals of the world, an island that operates completely off of clean, self made energy (highly recommend by the way!), are all topics I have learned more about through a documentary because, seriously, I will watch anything.

 A couple of months ago I stumbled across a documentary on the fast fashion industry called The True Cost. The caption intrigued me and I hadn’t found anything else to watch yet so I put it on as simple background noise. Ten minutes into the documentary I was no longer sewing, I was completely engrossed in the documentary.  In a tiny little nutshell, the movie explains the changes in the fashion industry over the last couple of decades, the reasons behind the change, and how it has affected people across the world and it resonated with me on a personal level. It is heartbreaking, upsetting, disturbing and eyeopening all at the same time. (If you dont know about how bad fast fashion can be I highly recommend you read this as soon as humanly possible!)

I had started the documentary and began to sew not more than two hours after getting home from the mall where I had purchased clothing items from Forever 21, Francesca’s, and other stores that advertise getting new stock everyday as a great thing. None of the items I bought that day were things I loved but they were trendy and cheap so I brought them home anyway. The items were also terrible quality. I knew even when I was buying them that I wouldn’t have them more than a couple of months. They were the exact pieces of clothing that the movie talks about. The exact cause of all of the pain and suffering I had just watched.

After the documentary ended and I switched to another one and started sewing again I couldn’t stop thinking about one of the most powerful quotes in the movie, the quote up above in the featured image.

What was I communicating with the clothes I was wearing I kept thinking? That my being seen as trendy for a night out on the town was more important than another persons safety? That the shoulder cut out sweater I bought without a second thought was worth someone being abused and exploited across the globe? I couldn’t stomach that. I still cant stomach that.

So I started doing some more research and I came across a book titled Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. The book goes through a lot of the same problems with the fast fashion industry the movie did in a different way and it was just as powerful to read as it was to see. The end of the book however talks about the home sewist and how some people are getting away with not having to buy into the fast fashion industry at all buy making their own clothes. Talk about a light bulb moment! I already sew, I was half way to being able to live a little bit more ethically!

Of course I am also a rational person and I realized quickly that my life is way too busy to be able to  sew all of my own clothes all the time. So with a little more searching I found Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Clothes. This book is a guide to buying outside of fast fashion and has become my clothes buying bible. I highly recommend it!

There a bunch of other great books and movies about fast fashion out there including The Machinists, a documentary free to watch on YouTube and To Die For: Is Fast Fashion Wearing Out The World? if you are interested in even more great information but really they all boil down to the same main point, that fast fashion isn’t worth it.

It is bad for the people making the clothes, the environment, our wallets, and our happiness and if making my own clothes is one way I can stop participating in all of the negative fast fashion is putting out into the world then that is what I am going to keep doing!


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