In the 1960’s, America made 95% of our clothes. Now, America makes only make about 3% of it.

America is so materialistic. We are the main source of over-consumption, throwing away mere-dirty appliances that people in third world countries would only dream of having.

In the documentary “The True Cost” (which is on Netflix), Andrew Morgan takes us to third world countries such as India and Cambodia to show us the ugly truth behind the fashion industry.

Daily wage of clothing laborers: $2.

Working environments: big cement buildings with bars for windows and no air conditioning.

Harmful chemicals are emitted from the fabric they work with, then those chemicals are poured into the rivers and oceans where people get their drinking water.

 

You see, I used to look down on people who only brought name-brand, top class clothes. “It’s dumb that they’re spending so much money just for the brand name” but now I agree with their actions.

For a store like Forever 21 to have the prices that they have, something needs to give. Money doesn’t fall from the sky. Nothing that good comes at no costs.

Here are the costs:

(images are not mine unless stated otherwise)

bangladesh factory collapse
Clothing factory collapse in Bangladesh resulting in the death of more than 900 workers. Despite knowing the complaints of the cracks in the building walls, the managers refused to take action.

bangladesh factory people
Mourning the death of a loved one in the collapse.

price of leather
A man carries pieces of chromium at a waste dumping ground on the outskirts of Kanpur. The city is notorious for having some of the country’s worst water pollution which is created by the local leathery tannery industry. Waste water laced with toxic chemicals, such as chromium, is discharged in local waterways and agricultural land which is used many residents who live in the nearby area. An array of health problems now afflict locals who use the water including cancers, mental health problems, child development issues and skin diseases.

chromium pollution
Chromium (heavy metal pollutant) in rivers in China

chromium effects 2
Effects of Chromium exposure

chromium effects
Effects of Chromium exposure

fashion toxic
Chromium pollution

haitian clothes 2
A secondhand clothing market in Haiti. Only 10% of our donated clothes actually get sold at thriftstores. The rest go to third world countries.

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Haitians wearing racy secondhand American clothing

haitians
Unaware of the meaning of his shirt, this Haitian is forced to wear it.
For us to live the luxury lives that we’re living, people across the world have to suffer only to make about $2 a day. Mothers aren’t able to see their children for a year as their factory job takes up most of their time.

I don’t mean to single out Forever 21. All of the mainstream companies hold no accountability for the effects that their company leaves. I’m disgusted at how capitalism is such an integral part of our lives, because the only people who benefit from them are the owners of the company. This is because we buy so much of their clothes so often. They make products which are so cheap and therefore disposable so that we go back for more.

Richard D. Wolff Phd. says,”My God, we can do better than this. If what we want is to spread as I would argue we do, spread industry around the world, not concentrated in one place. Let the benefits be shared globally, then lets do that in a reasonable, careful way.”

To make a difference, we need to boycott these companies. How many children born with birth defects, cancers, deaths, are we going to ignore before we take action? I, for one, am not going to support the labor of these workers.

I’m not going to wear clothes that were stitched upon the sweat, blood, and tears of another person. 

Don’t worry, there are still many stores that sell clothes made with fair trade (trade in which fair prices are paid to producers in developing countries).

Fair trade clothing brands.

You’ve probably never heard of any of them. I know I haven’t, and that is what’s sad about the industry. The good is blocked out by money-hungry people who hide the truth from the public. I know it’s hard to stop buying clothes from your old stores because in some cases, you can’t escape it.

Thrift stores are a good place to shop at also, so hit up your local Goodwill.

From now on, I really hope you start being more aware of which clothes you choose to buy.

 

 

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