I recently watched ‘The true cost of Fashion’ a documentary that shows the problems and issues with the fast fashion industry. To keep up with demand, keep costs low and maintain a for-profit company can’t help but create a loss of human rights and large amounts of environmental damage. It explains what sustainable fashion is and how to support it. It’s a fascinating documentary about the industry as a whole and is available for free on Netflix.

Here are some shocking facts I learnt from the Documentary

  • 97% of clothing items are now made overseas.
  • There are roughly 40 million garment workers in the world today; many of whom do not share the same rights or protections that many people in the West do.
  • They are some of the lowest-paid workers in the world
  • Roughly 85% of all garment workers are women.
  • The average American now generates 82 pounds of textile waste each year.

Clothing used to be something people held onto for years, now clothes are so cheap people are beginning to see the things we wear as disposable. I can’t be the only person to see overflowing Primark paper shopping bags filling up our high streets. Where does this cheap, often poor quality fashion come from?

The solution to this problem is easy, and it starts with you.

Shop Less

  • Go through your wardrobe and get rid of anything you don’t wear or that doesn’t fit. Send it to a Charity Shop – let someone else benefit from something you don’t use.
  • Any items you can’t bear to get rid off give a two month limited too. If you haven’t worn it by then, pass it on.
  • Wear your favourite clothes every day, don’t save your favourite outfits for special occassions

Shop Well

  • Will I wear this item more than 30 times? (at least once a fortnight as an example)
  • Can this replace another item I can give to charity or gift to someone?
  • Is this item good quality, will it last several years?

Shop Quality

It’s a common misconception that sustainable fashion is expensive. However, you would be wrong to think that. Introducing a Newcomer in Sustainable Fashion, Sam Leigh from eco|mono.

In March 2015 Sam was made redundant, so she used the opportunity to start the fashion site ecomono. It’s dedicated to bringing her readers regular sustainable style inspiration in the way of creating a beautiful monochrome, black, white and grey capsule wardrobe of essential pieces. All while educating them on the ethics of the fashion and textile industry.

Sam describes her site as, “The Destination for those waiting to shop sustainable fashion without jeopardising their style” .

Here she is providing some real style inspiration:

ecomono AW16 shoot

Five Reasons I LOVE what Sam is creating.

  1. My wardrobe can only be described as a capsule. Minimalist clothing has always been my Jam. When I lived in Manchester my entire wardrobe, including my outdoor clothing fitted on less than half a clothes rail. Now everything I own fits in a carry on case. And its all black.
  2. I understand not everyone is as ‘Minimal’ like me. Sam’s website allows people that love buying clothes to make a purchase from a brand that contributes towards sustainable fashion.
  3. Sam is a woman who took her passion and made it her purpose. Anyone who creates a company that not only aligns with their values but has the potential to change the world is alright with me.
  4. Rather than just complaining about a situation Sam has made huge steps to change how people shop. She is leading by example.
  5. Her Instagram is the most stylish and beautiful thing I have ever seen.

Whether you follow fashion or not,  are a big spender or a minimalist,  it’s important that when you do shop for clothes that this is as ethical and sustainable as possible.Wearing beautiful clothing should not be at the expense of people or the environment.

When a t-shirt costs £3 there is a human cost that has to lead to that. It’s time we all start thinking about that.

A couple more great brands to highlight are:

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Also published on Medium.

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