October 6, 2016

SUIT DU JOUR | Behind the Seams

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Do you know what happens behind the seams?

Think about the very T-shirt you are wearing, the socks that keep your feet warm, even the backpack that you just shrugged off your shoulder. Do you know where these products were made, who made them and how it is possible for them to be in your hands at this very moment?

Unfortunately, fashion (like other industries), is a dirty business because the answers to certain questions we ought to know are inexplicit. In fact, the answers we ought to know are often ignored because consumerism gets the best of us. Collectively, we are dragged into this cycle of consumption that is at once delicious and vicious; it feeds us of dopamine and the same time starves us of the truth: that somewhere, some person who you do not know is constructing this product for you to enjoy while he/she struggles to make a viable living.

Fast-fashion, in particular, is a primary area of concern within the fashion industry because its nature is unethical. Andrew Morgan, a film director of a fashion documentary titled The True Cost, reveals the dangers of fast-fashion on consumer behavior, the global supply chain, and the environment.

In a podcast about his own documentary, Morgan shares stunning facts on the reality of fast-fashion. Across the globe, he discovers that workers are exploited to a point beyond measure, expected to work incredibly long hours for little pay. Moreover, the products they produce are what are known as disposable goods — goods that are meant to last for a short period of time, to get you and me and all of us to buy more, and buy more more often. According to Morgan, roughly 80 billion items of fashion products are produced every year, which means that each person alone generates roughly 82 pounds of waste. While all of this is happening, the manufacturing of fashion products produces toxic byproducts on the environment, and it is said that fashion, behind oil, is the second largest contributor to global warming (Morgan).

Yet, in spite of all of this, we ignore the true hidden costs of fast-fashion. In our daily consumption, in one small click of a button on Amazon Prime, we impact the world in a significant way. Yes, fashion consumption is exciting; yes, it inspires us, but at its current unethical state and exceedingly fast pace, we will be doomed as consumers, and more importantly, as people. It is up to us to become more aware of these issues and think openly about the process of fashion consumption and production overall in order to make it more sincere and more real.

The first step to sincerity is listening to the podcast here.