"What's Ethical Fashion, Anyway?": Findings of a #FashionNoob

“It is not fair that anybody has to sit for 12 hours sewing and sewing until they collapse of dehydration and hunger. The truth is that we are rich because they are poor. We are rich because it costs us $10 to buy a t-shirt at H&M. But somebody else has to starve for you to be able to buy it.” Ludwig // Sweatshop: Deadly Fashion (A Documentary)

Jaimie and I launched our company, JUSTISLOVE, a couple of weeks ago on National Trafficking Awareness Day because our hearts burn for establishing justice across the nations through a creative means – fashion, arts, writing, and the like.

Jaimie’s heart is established in fighting for ethical fashion. I’m going to honest with you all and just tell you that I have never even heard the term, "ethical fashion", before she shared that aspect of her heart with me. For all of my other fashion noobs out there, ethical fashion basically aims to do away with the unethical practices of the fashion industry - along the lines of sweatshops, exploiting child and adult garment workers with forced overtime, horrible working conditions, and the list goes on.

Because ethical fashion is a major aspect of what our company stands for, I’ve been researching ethical fashion more and more. I’ve been praying for a heart that breaks for what breaks God’s heart, and to see with eyes wide open.  I decided to watch this documentary called, “Sweatshop: Deadly Fashion” because the premise interested me. Three wealthy fashion bloggers from Norway are taken to work in a Cambodian sweat shop to experience the real price of what their clothing costs through the lives that these garment workers live. I definitely recommend it to anyone that wants to know the harsh reality of where our clothing really comes from.

Here are a couple of things that I learned about sweat shops in Cambodia:

1) A twelve-hour shift every day of the week is a normal working standard.

2) You spend twelve of those hours sewing the same strand over and over again. There was a Cambodian women who said she sewed the same strand for fourteen years straight. 

3) A garment worker gets paid $3 for every shift.

4) They do not sit on chairs as they work, but on stools in a cramped and unkempt room. 

5) There are literally families out there that have died of hunger and starvation because of these low wages and horrible working conditions. I know that this fact isn’t a shocker but it’s mind-blowing when it actually sinks in. The majority of the clothes that I wear for a “good deal”, someone in a developing country had to suffer for.

Sweatshops aren't typically something that’s talked about in our society. It’s usually about what styles are trendy, and “who we’re wearing” whether it’s Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, whoever, whatever. It’s never about who we’re affecting, and the real cost of our cheap clothing – impoverished garment workers, starving families, and terrible working conditions.

Of course, this is all hush-hush in huge clothing companies that only care about making the biggest bang for their buck. But the truth is coming out, and ethical fashion is rising up, even for people like you and me, who are barely learning about what it even means. I had typically assumed that eco-friendly and ethical fashion were things that only fashion gurus cared about. But this is bigger than fashion or personal ideals - this is about people who are suffering because of the clothes that we're wearing at this very moment.

It’s the time to push forward. It’s the time to break some boundaries by first simply getting the word out and finding a greater understanding on how to be ethically fashionable. Jaimie and I are here to help - we pay the extra means to ensure that our clothing is sourced from suppliers that are WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production) Certified, which basically means that we know where our clothing comes from. We want to help you find out where yours does, too. Stay updated with us as we jump out of the old, and step into the new, ethical fashion movement.

“You can’t solve everything or fix such a global problem. But they really don’t ask for much. To get a bit more money, a better chair, some fans in the ceiling in a factory. We just have to push to get it done. Push the right buttons and then push them some more. You have to start somewhere.” Anniken // Sweatshop: Deadly Fashion 

#sweatshopawareness #ethicalfashion #youdonthavetobeafashiongurutocare

By: Drizelle Baluyot