I have always loved fashion. I love how it can make people feel. When you survey the pieces in your closet you find you’re very rarely apathetic to any of them. Each piece is tied to a memory, a feeling, good or bad. As I gained experience in the industry, and ultimately fell down the rabbit hole into ethical fashion, I loved experiencing the other side of the industry and the global impact of fashion. Not only does fashion impact us as consumers, but it impacts hundreds of thousands of people as workers. It led me to believe that fashion can truly change the world and here’s why.
Fashion is The Largest Labored Industry
In 2015 I watched The True Cost documentary, and like many other people have since then, learned that fashion is the largest labored industry employing 1 in 6 people in the world. At first, this may seem impossible, but if you read our post on the 34 Reasons Why Fashion is the Largest Labored Industry in the World you saw how that number quickly adds up. Making garments and accessories still requires a lot of manual labor, and the scope of areas it takes to produce and sell a product encompasses a large portion of our global working population. The global impact of fashion is huge.
Everyone Consumes Fashion
One of my favorite quotes of all time about fashion comes from none other than Miranda Priestly in Devil Wears Prada. Queen B herself in a scathing monologue actually perfectly articulates the impact of the fashion industry to every person no matter their economic status or feelings about it.
Miranda Priestly: "This...Stuff"? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select , I don't know that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you are trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, its not turquoise. It's not lapis. Its actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then i think it was Yves Saint Laurent - wasn't it who showed cerulean military jackets?And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and its sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact you're wearing a sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.
It’s easy to think that fashion is just for the 1%. Living high in their penthouses in the major cities, shopping the latest creations the high end designers have introduced. But it turns out that the 1% is only 1% of the collective fashion market. Beyond 5th Avenue and Rue Saint Honore, everyone wears clothes. Whether it’s the 1%, the poor communities in Haiti, or the people who wear “anything” to make a statement that they are above materialism, are consumers of fashion either through primary or secondary markets. Unless you live in a full time nudist colony, you are not exempt.
Perfectly Positioned For Good or Evil?
This is why it’s paramount that the way we produce our clothing accounts for all the people and planet we impact in the process. The global impact of fashion must be wielded correctly to be a positive impact. Our daily, small decisions have a ripple effect in a much larger pool than we realize. But the great news is YOU can be a part of that solution.
If you want to change the world through fashion, let’s get you started. Fill out our brand form so we can help you find an ethically certified factory around the world.