Local fashion from head to toes: How I celebrate Earth Day and Fashion Revolution Week
There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness.
– Matahma Gandhi
On April 22, more than 193 countries celebrated Earth Day. This Monday also marks the beginning of Fashion Revolution Week, which aims at promoting ethical and sustainable fashion. This movement was created in response to the collapse of Rana Plaza, which occurred in Bangladesh on April 24, 2013, and resulted in over 1110 deaths.
Actual Fashion Victims
You remember? This tragedy has (re) brought to light the poor working conditions and the totally unsafe environment in which the people who make our clothes worked. When a t-shirt costs $10, it’s because there is someone who has not been paid for their work. Sadly, that event made me much more sensitive to the conditions of production, the quality of a garment and the preservation of the environment. I do not throw anything. I exchange or give.
In addition, the fashion industry is one of the most polluting and resource-intensive. Mass production requires a lot of water, transportation and people. For the average of us, we always want new clothes and there is always a new item that will please us, this is to infinity while the resources of our planet have an end.
However, this remains a luxury, not because purchases must necessarily be numerous and expensive, but because they are not necessary. Should our environment, animals and humans pay the price? Good question.
My little story with fashion
However, that has not always been so. I grew up in a disadvantaged socio-economic environment. I often say this because it has had a great influence on many aspects of my life, including my passion for fashion. During my childhood and adolescence, most of my clothes came from church bazaars and it was a time when vintage was out of date.
When my mother could afford to buy new clothes, I chose neutral colors to wear them as often as possible to prevent other children from seeing that I was still wearing the same. I still remember that 14 years old kid who told me that his clothes came from The Bay and that I looked like I was dressed by Accueil Bonneau…
When I started working and could buy my own clothes, I chose the cheapest and most ordinary clothes, so I could wear them often without being noticeable. Then, I was shopping in major international fashion stores, because I didn’t know anything else and because I must admit, I just wanted to be like everyone else, at last.
Fortunately, my situation has changed, and I can fully express myself through fashion. Although I’m not perfect, I try to make responsible purchases by supporting thrift stores, ethical and local brands, as often as I can as my means allow me. This is not limited to clothing. This applies to jewelry, bags and shoes too.
Adopting an ethical and sustainable fashion means being aware that there are humans behind the labels we wear. Humans just like those who perished during the Rana Plaza tragedy. It is to realize that I have power and that there are choices that are within my reach.
I am also aware that most people do not have the same choices for lack of financial means, accessibility or priorities just like me before. In fact, I consider myself privileged and I hope that the privileges of this world become aware of their power of consumption.