I’m reading and learning a lot these days about the real cost of cheap, fast fashion.
It’s one of those topics I’d really rather just look away from, on a visceral level.
The more I learn, the more unrest I find in my spirit. The more I learn, the more the conflict grows between the behavior I choose and the values I hold. It interrupts me. It’s inconvenient.
I grew up bargain hunting and going to garage sales weekly with my mother, who sewed many of our clothes. The way we lived then was actually good for the environment and for humanity.
It was sustainable.
What’s interesting though, is that bargain hunting mentality morphed into a love of cheap fashion as I became an adult. No longer did I spend my weekends scouring garage sales (at least not consistently). I found my bargains at Wal-Mart, Target and Forever 21. In those places, it’s easy to run in and grab the latest styles (brand new!) at bargain basement prices. I’ve always been proud to call myself a thrifty shopper.
With HeartStories’ new focus on social entrepreneurship, I’m learning so much. I’m opening my eyes to things I’ve tried to look away from. Things I’ve pretended not to know, chosen not to believe.
Fashion isn’t cheap. Someone is paying the price and I want to be the one who pays for my fashion. I have the power to decide.
I know my hording of cheap clothing behavior isn’t going to change overnight, but I can feel it shifting. When I’m distracted by the darling new trends at Target, I’m (working hard) to look away. I’m purposefully trying to envision the sacrfice of the factory worker in Bangladesh who literally slaved over that shirt.
It’s a clash of my nature with the call of my heart.
In fact, writing about this today is making my palms sweat. I’m putting myself on the hook for something I’m really struggling to do. It’s almost a complete re-wiring of my fashion brain and behavior, but it’s time.
It’s time to play the music of my soul louder than the old re-mixed soundtrack of my ego.
I’m starting with baby steps. I’m choosing not to be lured to buy 10 cheap t-shirts, but to invest in one that serves a purpose and empowers humanity, instead of enslaving us. I’m trying really hard not to be persuaded that I need more and more clothing to feel fashionable. I’m looking for ways to re-purpose the items in my already over-stuffed closet.
Would you consider joining me?
I’m not asking for a sudden, rash change. It’s not a trend. It’s a shift in your heart. A retraining of your mind. A retraining of mine.
We can do this, together.
Will you open your eyes with me? Will you begin to think about what had to happen in order to get that skirt for $5?
It’s not pretty, but you are.
Let’s begin to become more beautiful from the inside out, together as we care for our sisters we’ve never met. The ones whose blood, sweat, tears and sometimes, entire lives, are the cost of our fashion.
Just think about it.
To more love,