The Human Cost of Fast Fashion

Updated: Jun 3, 2021

I believe these days that unfortunately the truth is we all know the "cost of everything and the value of nothing".

It brought me up short the other day when I was looking to buy a white T shirt from a well known store and it was £40. "£40!" I thought "I'm not paying that for a plain white T shirt!". But then I stopped to think - why shouldn't I? In fact, why wouldn't I? Whatever the shape, cut, quality of it was, the fact remains that for every T shirt made, there must have been numerous people involved in the making - the farmer, the cotton picker, the packer, the lorry driver, the unpacker, all the people involved in the making of the material, the pattern cutters, machinists, not to mention the designer, buyer, PR person, sales person - the list is endless.

When you think of it like that, £40 is nothing and probably works out to a very negative figure per person, per item. And we wonder why every item is made in bulk and there is so much waste?

If we want the industry to be able to change and to be able to do our own bit to help the Planet, we need to shift our thinking - £40 for a Tshirt? That's cheap!

We need to look at our clothes as investments, as pieces that have been crafted by Artisans and that need looking after, worn often and looked after with care. My mother's generation had a "make do and mend" attitude to everything, whilst mine adopted a "throw it away and buy a new one", partly because things weren't made to last anymore, partly because fashions changed so quickly we couldn't keep up and partly because we had the money to spend on constantly updating our wardrobe with cheaper, more accessible items.

However, whatever the reason, it is time we had a huge sea change in attitude. We have to think about how many people were involved in the item we are buying. How would we feel if we were the ones receiving peanuts for the hard work and expertise we were putting in? We need to look at everything we are being charged, be it for clothes, food, makeup, our Dentist, our Coach, whatever or whomever and think "that is a good investment" and not how much it costs.

Maybe this way we can start making small steps to better future for everyone.


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