Do you know where your clothes come from? Of course, they came from Fashion Nova or H&M–maybe even Nordstrom. But do you know who made them?
Most people don’t. A lot of the larger corporations aren’t transparent when it comes to their supply chain. I try my best to not shop fast fashion and about 90% of the clothing I’ve bought in the past year was either ethically made or purchased second hand.
What exactly is fast fashion? Fast fashion is a term that describes retailers that quickly produce/replicate clothing shown on runways. You’ve probably been to Forever 21 and seen a pair of pink bow slides that closely resemble Rihanna’s Fenty slides. Well, what’s the problem with that?
First, many of these larger retailers are copying the designs of other businesses. The Fashion Law reports on Puma’s case against Forever 21, claiming the California-based company has copied the designs of their creepers and slides.
Second, a lot of these companies do not produce ethically, which is why they’re able to replicate the latest trends so quickly. The people who make these clothes can have horrible working conditions. The production process may produce a ton of waste and harm the environment.
When I’m shopping, I go through a mental list to make sure I’m responsibly consuming. Here are the places where I prefer to shop:
- Black owned businesses that produce in the US. I’m all about supporting my community.
- Thrift/consignment stores. A majority of my clothing comes from thrift stores, and I find it the most sustainable and wallet-friendly option for me.
- Sustainable, ethically made clothing retailers. If I’m going to drop a stack on something, I need it to last. I don’t want anything I own to fall apart within a year.
I love learning about sustainable, ethical clothing. This video from withwendy shows a great method that takes old bottles and turns it into a t-shirt.
It’s great to see so many companies moving towards sustainable production. Maybe some day, companies will produce clothing that use minimal waste and don’t use children as laborers.