Since I hit “publish” on last Friday’s article, it has easily become the most-viewed post I’ve written this year. That is amazing, because it shows people, you people, want to talk about this. You want to share it with your friends, you want to think about it, and you want fix it. You, like me, don’t really know how to do that yet, but you want to try.
This was, quite frankly, the first time I wrote about something that really matters on this blog, and I’m grateful for the reception to it. That said, don’t expect a huge tonal shift at We So Thrifty: For the most part, it will still be thrifting, pop-culture, and 90s nostalgia. But do expect to see some small attempts, every once and a while, to contribute to a fashion economy that saves instead of kills. I won’t drop this, and I hope you won’t either.
I left that article in an open-ended, hoping all of you would take some time to share your reactions with me. You did just that. A few tweets, a few comments, and a few shares have already left me with more to think about, and I’m grateful for that too. I’ve compiled just a few of the great comments to that post, to give you a little to chew on as we all move forward with this. Thank you for your words, friends. Forward we go!
…I have been reading about life in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh for quite a few years now and know it very well. I was excited to read about the backlash from the Bangladeshis in the country because no one can change a country from without, it must happen from within and without simultaneously, but primarily from within. What people endure in those countries is almost inconceivable to us, and so to act here in ways that drastically affect the clothing industry out of self-righteousness without understanding those countries in depth is irresponsible. If we can find out which companies act responsibly and choose their goods over others, we certainly can apply proper pressure. Supply and demand. That’s how it works.
…You’re right– like many people I also thought, Good thing I didn’t shop at [insert store here] this year. But not visiting a certain retailer doesn’t make me or anyone less guilty. Accidents can happen at factories any where in the world at any time regardless of the brand’s size or popularity. Real change can start with us– the consumers– because we often buy what we like, want, don’t really want, need, or really need without thinking too much about who made our product and his/her living and working conditions.
…I have been trying to socially conscious about my shopping habits but it is hard to do. Just quickly: avoiding all overseas produced products and shopping “Made in Canada /USA” is not always the answer. Some overseas factories do produce goods in keeping with International Labor Organization (ILO) standards while there have been sweatshops busted in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary in recent years. Some companies subcontract to workers paid by the piece for basic sewing and assembly and they get much less than minimum wage.
I am trying to learn which companies to support and continuing to shop the second-hand market as well. It is worth noting however, that not all sellers on ebay or etsy, are ethical retailers, though the number of problematic ones is likely reduced compared to the norm.
…This has really shaken me up, and I’m concerned that the lack of caring overall just continues to reflect our consumer culture mentality. As my pastor says, “I don’t want to be a consumer; I want to be a producer.” I’m going to take some time in the next couple of weeks and start a list of links connected with ethical shopping because I feel like people need alternatives. Yes, I shop secondhand, but there are some things (undies! socks! workout clothes!) that I would ALWAYS like to buy new, and it’s going to be more difficult to find these products from places I feel good about it instead of just popping into Target and aimlessly shopping.