Slow Learning on Fast Fashion

Something happened in my closet — and it's not the KonMari Method. When I look at my clothes, I see limbs attached. Arms, legs, faces. There are people who made each one of these garments, and I can't shake the images of them. 

Sometimes messages are catapulted at me until I pay attention. That's the way I learned about fast fashion. I heard a little something in the past about children making clothes that we buy in America. And then I did what we are implicitly taught to do: I looked away from the horror and kept going on with my life. I kept buying clothes. And then the messages got louder. From the documentary The True Cost. From what I discovered when I dug deeper into the garment industry. And from an interview with Andrew Morgan that I stumbled upon.

My perspective kept shifting and I found myself finally unable to look away. I was ready to change.

But what do you do? What do you do when you learn the fashion industry is inked to exploitation, death, disease, and separation of families around the world? And what do you do when you are so removed from the process that it's easy to look away? A main takeaway I gathered from listening to Andrew's interview is that learning about fast fashion should be enraging. And then it can be empowering. Because we, as consumers, have the ability to shift the economy. We, as people, have the ability to use our voices and speak up for women and children who risk their lives for us to fill our shopping bags with as little money as possible.

It's an important issue. A complex issue, layered with questions about our role in the global economy, the human economy, and humanity in general. It's an issue that I'm only beginning to understand.

But what I know is this: I want my purchases to reflect my values. I want to think of the people those purchases affect. So I'm beginning to change my relationship with clothes, entirely unsure of what the road ahead will look like. It will mean more secondhand clothing. More research into "ethical" companies with fair sourcing practices. And it will most certainly means lots, and lots of learning. Will you learn with me?