Shopping Intentionally + Ethically

saying goodbye to fast fashion - shopping intentionally and ethically

I have been doing a ton of online shopping lately, and by no coincidence is it that I've been seeing a ton of posts (here and here) about shopping intentionally.  I've never really thought about why clothes at "fast fashion" stores are so inexpensive, or how they can afford to run a business that way, but believe me when I tell you that my eyes have definitely been opened.

I started this post two weeks ago after watching an episode of Shark Tank where a company by the name of Sseko presented their story and I was blown away.  It also wasn't a coincidence that I had just spent the last hour on looking at very expensive bags when they dropped a huge truth bomb on the show.  It costs as little as $1,500 for a college education in the countries that their company supports.  Here I was looking at $1,000 handbags that I could rent for $300 and there are people in other countries praying for this same amount of money for an education so they can support their families and follow their dreams.

Not only are these people not able to get the education that they long for, but there are so many others in even worse conditions.  There are people around the world that are making as little as $1/day and according to this source Americans currently spend over 200 Billion dollars every year on retail purchases.  These people are expected to not only support themselves, but their entire family on these wages.  The wages are certainly low based on that statistic, but the sweatshops that they are working in don't help the situation at all.  There are countless deaths accredited to these types of working conditions everyday.    

Do you want the honest truth of the exact thought that went through my mind at that time?  What the HELL are we doing?  Why do we continue to support companies that promote such poor working conditions when there are companies bending over backwards to promote the opposite?  What are we doing that for?  For a $10 sundress so I can save $25 extra dollars to go out to eat?  There are people that are literally starving and living off of as little as $160/month so I can buy that sundress for $10.  It's time for a change. 

When I saw this post from Anna today my mind was made up and it inspired me to finish this post that I had been working on.  I wasn't exactly sure the direction I wanted to take it when I started because prior to watching the video below, I didn't know what I was supporting by choosing to spend my money on fast fashion.  After watching this I hope that it will change your mind as to how you're spending your money on clothing, too.  We are rich because they are poor.  We're able to buy insanely cheap clothes and they're not even able to feed their families based on the money that is made working in these sweatshops.  

So, I challenge you to take a hard look at where your money is going as I challenge myself to do the same.  Can I make a promise and say that I'm going to look into every single purchase that I ever make for the rest of my life?  Absolutely not, but I can certainly try.   

If you're like me and sick to your stomach after watching this video, join me and some other awesome individuals who are trying to make a difference by tagging #consciousclosets to meet others that are doing the same!  You can watch the whole series in detail with full English translations here

P.S.  I've seen plenty of other amazing bloggers that have put their hearts on the line with the idea of shopping ethically and get totally slammed later for something as little as wearing an old scarf from a company they said they weren't going to support anymore.  The three people that are sharing this message are actually fashion bloggers themselves!  I ask that you please be kind in your responses to this post.  This is an issue that I feel very passionately about and I hope that if anything, it opens your eyes to the reality of fast fashion.  Here's to the journey of trying to make a difference in any small way that we can!   

Chelcey Tate is a photographer, blogger and graphic designer based in Louisville, KY.