Thursday, 10 March 2016

THE TRUE COST

This is a bit of a different post for me about a more serious topic, but it's something that I really wanted to voice and talk about to you all. This wasn't a planned blog post, but after watching a documentary called 'The True Cost' on Netflix this morning, it sparked a need in me to talk about what I feel is an important issue to raise. I love shopping, which is no secret to anyone and I'm sure millions of other people like me are guilty of impulse buying when it comes to clothes and make-up etc. But I never really think about where the items are coming from, who is making them and what the back story is behind each of my belongings. 


There are items in my wardrobe which are staples and investments, and pieces which I value a lot and will have for a very long time, however there are many items that I do not feel that way about. Fashion changes so frequently and in order to keep up with the changing styles, I do often buy cheaper pieces which I can add into my wardrobe to fit a certain current trend, which I know will only last me a season before I just 'get bored' of it. But to the people that make these clothes which I don't value as being very important to me, they are several hours of hard work and labour. The effort that goes into stitching each thread, adding every button and piecing together each item is something that none of us can imagine unless we ever had to do it for ourselves. In places like Bangladesh where there are huge clothing production warehouses, the staff work in poor conditions and are payed next to nothing for their work, but do it to provide for their families. When we pick up items in store, we don't think about what that person's life is like who made the item for us, the hard work they go through daily and how important each thread they're stitching is to them in terms of maintaining a stable job to support their loved ones. 



The more clothes we are buying without a second thought to the actual item, the more these women and men will have to make in order to serve our impulse shopping habits. If we actually think about whether we NEED the item, or whether we just WANT it to serve a small purpose, then maybe we can try and make a change to help improve the working conditions of these workers. As the consumer, if we start asking more ethical questions about where our clothes are coming from, then maybe the companies will start listening to us and realise that the working conditions of these people producing our clothes needs to be improved dramatically. Why is it fair that these people have to risk their health and lives just to provide the latest fashion which we are only excited about for one season? There has been a few occasions now in other countries such as Bangladesh where the workhouses have actually collapsed due to being so run-down, and this has caused many deaths. Why is this still happening? Surely if we want to continue shopping so much and keep up with the latest trends, we should start by making sure the working conditions of the workers providing the clothes are safe?

If you want to really know what goes into making the clothes that you buy and the items that you pick up to 'only wear for one occasion' or 'to last one holiday', think about the value of that item to the people that make it, and think about whether you actually value that item or not. I'm not saying that I'm only going to invest in pieces that will last me years from now on, of course I'm going to buy basics that might only serve me a couple of months because I haven't got endless amounts of money...but I'm now aware of the effort and implications of making the items and it's changed the way I value my clothes. Obviously I cannot make a difference on my own but my advice would be to watch the documentary if you can. It will really open your eyes to the problems behind creating clothes, and if more people understand the back story to the production of fashion, then more people can try and change the conditions of the workplaces for these people in other countries.

Sorry for the wordiness of this post and the ranting vibe, but I felt something needs to be said and I hope that other people can watch the documentary too because it's made me appreciate my items so much more.

Love Emily
x
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