Clothes : Can they be ethical … a repost

beaseedforchangestickersGREENjust another rant …

Secondhand or flea market shopping has been in the news occasionally for years and as folks join the movement to keep material out of landfills or reduce their eco-footprint; some push, buy made in the US of A only; while others believe reusing is best. The problem that needs to be addressed over and over is: how toxic are the materials used to create fashion?

The idea of wearing toxic fashions let alone recycling it is a disturbing thought given what we now know and at the end of the day, it always seems to go back to making that dollar dollar

There are a few who do 2ndhand because of financial issues, some wear it for personal reasons and even more, are on that path toward sustainable living, but as a whole 2nd hand, up-cycling, or living Eco-friendly seems are great names but are they ethically stylish? I guess that would have to mean, intentionally buying, wearing, and devoting your dollar dollars to sustainably made only. The fact is, it is a lot tougher than folks think. Have you looked at your clothing labels?

The dictionary states that being ethical means acting in an ethical manner from an ethical point of view. Being “ethically stylish” is almost a mission impossible.  Before you say she needs more education; don’t get me wrong because I definitely get being “ethically stylish,” and “acting with intent” but when store buyers, the fashion industry, and whatnot go out of their way to use cheap labor or toxic material, being ethical demands that the industry cooperate as well lest we talk about where the industry gets their material, and sadly the manufacturing industry isn’t as vital here

Unfortunately, this is an ongoing fight and here we are in the year 2020.  I wonder, have other people bought and overpaid for a dress or two over the years; tried buying American-made only as well but found more often than not; I buy because of the “cute factor” first then price while looking at the tags later finding that it was not made in the US of A or out of sustainable material, which definitely offends the “ethically stylish “code.  Sometime in the ’90s, word got out that the likelihood of fashion corporations outsourcing work because it was more cost-effective, the material was cheap, and maybe not so sustainable yet meant more for the money; remember when big-name models, entertainment folks, and designers were caught using sweatshops.  So, Big-name companies like Levis’s, which I personally thought were only made here in the US are apparently imported as well and the 501’s which are my favorite can have insane prices though more sustainable.

Back in the day, hearing the fashion industry, in all its forms, say, they are selling or being more ethically stylish was frustrating.  There were always reports of companies and brands, which sell the USA, made, but may among others in the industry possibly be using toxic materials.  This news made the giant move toward 100% Organic, Natural, or Sustainable and take several giant steps backward to rehash and or rethink who when why when, and with what.  America needs to buy and sell locally, but again, almost a mission impossible as the saying, Made in America is not only more expensive, the labels are far few these days and the material is often blended with stuff we cannot pronounce. The history of the fashion industry and American Made is definitely a love-hate thing as designers and stars back in the day were wearing fabulous clothes rarely found on the racks, only to find out they were actually getting their clothes made by sweatshops, in some well-known and unknown countries … probably not very sustainable.

Yes, “Made in the USA” faded out to a blank whiteboard and the NYC garment district was but a memory for quite a while. There were some great “Where and what are they doing now” shows with older “go to” fashion designers, and clothiers stating the fabric just is not the same nor are the people. The opportunity to make more clothes with cheap labor & material seemed to have become addictive, and the image of what was going on in those countries is not good.   Fashion will always be a work in progress, but learning that unfair labor practices and or that companies are producing great-looking garments, but possibly using toxic material since or before is sad considering all that has happened to the industry over the years. Thus, making it tough to be ethical, let alone wear fashion that is ethically stylish or sustainable.

I still buy clothes, using the cute fit fab factor while believing in reuse, reclaim, repurpose, and reduce movement, which keeps most material out of landfills

November of 2012


2 thoughts on “Clothes : Can they be ethical … a repost”

  1. Thank you for sharing your ideas. The more consumers are made aware, the better. Ethical choices are made difficult in the clothing industry because there is little or no transparency. These dilemmas need to be exposed and discussed, that way change will happen. Keep talking!


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