The Human Cost of Fast Fashion

When that garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh recently there were collective gasps of horror from ethical fashionistas and fair trade advocates across the globe. I was one of them.

I tweeted about it. I shared the news on Facebook. I was guilty of stalking the likes of Ecouterre, Peppermint Magazine and other green websites for more information. And still I feel I haven’t done enough to raise awareness of the demons of fast fashion.

If you have been living under a rock somewhere, and have no idea what happened, here it is in a nutshell: more than 600 people lost their lives in a garment factory collapse in Bangladesh.

It is bewildering that so many people perished in a building that was unsafe because scrupulous owners  paid no heed of an engineers’ advice to evacuate the building. It is shocking that a group of owners chose their manufacturing deadlines and profits over the safety of their workers. Workers who had the right to safe working conditions.

Although I guess in some way justice may prevail as the people in Bangladesh, grieving and coming to terms with this preventable disaster, push for murder charges against the owners of the building and demand capital punishment.

But it shouldn’t end there.

And it will if we as consumers stand idly by.

We have the power to make a difference and create positive change by voting with our dollars. If you purchase a $10 tee, do you ask yourself how it could cost so little? If you consider the price of fabric and materials, shipping costs, the cost of labour and the cost of adhering to safe working practices, do you think that $10 is a reasonable price to pay?

Well do you?

Any person wanting and working towards a fair and equitable world knows that the answer to that question is NO!

So before you make a purchase, please consider these questions. The welcome side effects may just be that you start boycotting certain businesses with questionable ethics; start purchasing things that are fair trade, ethical and sustainable and reduce your consumption of fast fashion and things you don’t need in general.

And although some say ignorance is bliss, I am a big believer that knowledge is power.

In which case, now that YOU know, what are you going to do about it?

[Photo credit: We Are Chapter One]

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