The past I bought a new sweater. At least, it was new to me, because I bought it at a secondhand shop. I’ve had a love for secondhand clothing for most of my life. My mom took me with her to thrift shops and to secondhand fairs too. It is a bit of a search, but when you find something it’s often unique. The love for secondhand clothing that I got from my mom was enough reason for me to buy secondhand, but when I saw the documentary The True Cost another 100 reasons were added.
The True Cost
The True Cost is a documentary about fast fashion (or what most people consider normal fashion). Fast fashion is cheap and fast fashion (fast because there is a new collection almost every week). The documentary The True Cost gives you an insight on what happens before those fast, cheap clothes come to you. And unfortunately, there’s not just one problem. We’re talking about the destruction of the environment (and therefore creating a toxic, unhealthy environment for people), child labor, wages lower than a living-wage, poor working conditions and more. It’s not a happy documentary, but one every consumer of clothing should see. It broke my heart.
Back in the days, I used to think that only the extremely cheap stores would contribute to this problem. Unfortunately, that is not true at all. All fast fashion brands work this way. H&M, Zara, ONLY, Gucci and more. Not just the cheap fashion brand, almost all brands. Even the luxurious ones like Gucci. The bottom line is: if the brand doesn’t have any certifications for sustainability, it’s not a sustainable brand. We need to check for organic, fair trade and sustainability certifications.
A lot of people still buy fast fashion because they think they’re enabling the people who make the clothes. ‘At least they have job’, they say. But they’ll still have a job if we choose sustainable and fair clothes. And not only will they have a job then, they’ll have an actual life too. A fair living wage, good working conditions, free time and everything else we have. Freedom. You choose a better world if you make a fair, sustainable purchase.
Sustainable and Fair Fashion
Of course you don’t have to choose secondhand clothing if you don’t want to. It’s the most sustainable option, but it’s not the only one. The other options is to buy sustainable and fair new clothing. Via Good On You you can check clothing brands easily, if you don’t know where to start. You just type in a brand and you see their score, easy! They’re rated on sustainability, how animal-friendly they work, fair trade and they all check this by official certifications. It’s an amazing source! We shouldn’t buy fast fashion ever again.
Sustainable and fair fashion is more expensive, yes. Of course it is! People get paid more and the planet is treated with respect. That takes more effort and money. But the key for us consumers is also to buy less. When you buy sustainable and fair you buy quality. This way you have to buy less and so that leaves more money for those more expensive items. But the key is to own less in general too. We can only wear so many clothes and we shouldn’t want a different outfit every single day of the year. Less is more. So, the question is: who do you want the pay the true cost? You, with the money you earned in a fair way. Or someone else in a foreign country, who pays with their life?
Want to know more about fast fashion and what’s wrong with it? I wrote more about that in this post.