Okay, if you’ve read part 1 you’ve seen this, but here’s the small spiel: We all say we want to help the environment, but that means more than just buying a trendy reusable straw. One of the biggest contributing factors some of the worlds most prominent problems has to do with fashion. As much as it pains me to say, the fashion world is flawed. Fast fashion, worker rights, non-inclusivity, racial discrimination, and so much more. While I will definitely expand on those topics in future posts, today I’m talking about fast fashion. In this 3 post series, I’m going to explore what it is, why it’s important, what you can do, and how you can do it. Get ready for part 2, where I’m going to talk about workers rights and fast fashion’s environmental impact! If you haven’t read part 1, it will make a lot more sense so CLICK HERE!
There are many facets of the factory worker’s issues in relation to fast fashion.
- Discrimination against women
- Child labor
- Low and unfair pay
- Bad and dangerous working conditions
- Health issues
- Bad rights in general
I’m going to briefly touch on each subject, but the links at the bottom will give more specifics.
Workers pay in relation to prices. When you see that a piece of clothing is cheap, you are more inclined to buy it. Although with that change in price, the big brand doesn’t lose out. It’s the workers who make the garments that get lowered and unfair pay. The consumer demand for lower prices affects the human beings that make them.
The women and children play a different role in all of this. Around 80% of garment workers are women, ages 18- 35. They can be paid as little as 25 cents an hour while having to raise and provide for a family. Those women can face abuse, harassment, mistreatment and more. What may be even worse, is that there is child labor everywhere in this industry. They would be forced to work, feel obligated to work because of money, etc.
Why do people get roped into working like this and how does it affect their pay? Most of these factories are either in underdeveloped or third world countries, where people take whatever jobs they can. They have no other choice than to work in unfair, unsafe, and terrible working conditions with even worse pay. That’s why brands feel they can take advantage of there situation and justify paying less.
Most of these factories, like I said, are in underdeveloped climates, causing horrible working conditions. “Employees usually work with no ventilation, breathing in toxic substances, inhaling fiber dust or blasted sand in unsafe buildings. Accidents, fires, injuries, and disease are very frequent occurrences on textile production sites.” – Sustain Your Style. You’ve probably seen, in the news, stories of factories collapsing because of the building code violations and poor construction. The working atmosphere actively risks their health, but managers play a part too. Workers can be denied food breaks, proper hydration, etc. all in the name of production.
The other main focus of fast fashion is it’s an obvious and negative impact on the environment. The fabric, being one of the outlets, has many different ways of affecting things. Dyes can be filled with toxic chemicals, which will find their way to the ocean and global water. Fabrics are the next aspect. The most used fast fashion fabric is Polyester. That fabric contains microfibers that after washing and everyday wear, end up in the ocean. Microfibers don’t break down or biodegrade. Instead, they end up being consumed by animals and fish, which are eaten by humans. It’s not just bad for the environment, but it’s bad for the health of everyone.
My small three-post series, while covers a lot, isn’t nearly as informative as some documentaries and books. The True Cost is a great documentary, on Netflix, that covers a lot of the problems with Fast Fashion. It also does a great job with highlighting online shops and people that are striving to make a change and promote conversation. Keep a watch out for part 3, which will be all about how you can help and make a change in your lifestyle.
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Hi, these websites are super informative. Some of them also included references to other sites and articles, which I found very helpful. All of my information and facts are from these sites, and I want to give them the credit they deserve.