Happy Monday! How were all of your weekends? I could tell you how relaxing ours was and how we spent so much time outside and had the best breakfast burritos at the farmers market on Sunday and it would all be true, but I also spent the majority of the last 48 hours reflecting on a movie we saw Friday evening. Aaron and I decided to kick off our weekend by attending the LA premiere of a new documentary, The True Cost with a couple of friends. (Highly recommend! Go rent it now on iTunes!) I was really intrigued by the basic question they were asking: What’s the true cost of these inexpensive fast fashion items that we buy on a regular basis from places like Gap, Forever 21, and H&M? How are they able to sell $5 shirts?! The answer to that question has probably forever changed the way I shop and wear clothes. Did you know we buy 400% more clothing than we did just two decades ago? Or that most factory workers in third world countries make less than $10 a month and work in vile conditions under physical abuse? The story follows the plight of a few garment workers specifically and the fascinating reality that they live.
I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, I thought we were going to read something really deep about that tonal striped sweater!” Sorry, friends. I think this is an issue that’s really unique in a good way because we can make a huge change just by changing our own shopping habits and the way we get dressed. The capsule wardrobe does a couple of things to help the problem. For starters, we buy less clothes when we are wearing the same 30-ish pieces for 2-3 months at a time. Since we are wearing and consuming less things we can afford to pay a little bit of a higher price tag for pieces that were made responsibly/fair trade, which usually carry a higher price tag, but last longer and don’t diminish the lives of women and children around the world. Instead of buying 10 $20 items over a few months, maybe we buy 2 items instead. Do any of us really NEED new clothes at all? We can also shop second hand. And finally, we can start to ask questions. We were at Lululemon yesterday and I was eyeing my favorite workout pants in a new gray color. I assumed since they were charging $82 for active pants that they were made responsibly, but I was wrong. The tag said they were made in Bangladesh, a country notorious for the least amount of regulation and the lowest pay for it’s garment workers. I still had hope that maybe Lululemon had just opened a fair trade factory there, but a little internet sleuthing proved otherwise. (Also, pretty sure these denim shorts from Madewell aren’t making the responsibly made list either.)
You guys, this is totally uncharted territory for me. I’m not usually one to take a political stand on the internet, so I hope you don’t mind my crazy Monday rant. It’s something new that I’m navigating and would love your help. Do you guys have any favorite responsibly made brands? My friend hosted a pop-up shop Saturday for Noncha, an online boutique carrying mostly Dutch designers and all fair-trade items. It was the perfect start to becoming someone who shops more intentionally and with more consideration for how my clothes are made. I picked up a little something for my next capsule wardrobe that I can’t wait to share with you guys next month! Curious if you’re favorite brands have been caught up in sweatshop scandal? This article was interesting, but you can also just do a little internet sleuthing and probably turn up the truth. And for a more recent account inside Cambodia, see this article. Have I been a total downer to your Monday?! I hope not! I just couldn’t help sharing what I learned over the weekend. (Tomorrow is a totally unpolitical DIY, promise!)
Thin Striped Sweater, Rag & Bone (Similar + Similar) / Denim Shorts, Madewell / Platform Raffia Lace Up Shoes, Robert Clergerie (Also, available here if you need a different size and this is a much cheaper somewhat similar version.)
Photography by Mary Costa