I really care about fashion. This includes the entire world it influences, along with every thing and everyone in it. Even if you're Joe Blow living in middle America with zero thoughts about this industry and a complete lack of style to show for it, fashion still affects you somehow, someway. This is because there's at least one person in your life that actually does care about what they wear and also because everyone has to get dressed eventually which means occasionally shopping for clothes. Choosing where we shop is as important as protecting our body parts from everyday elements produced by our environments. Unless you live on a deserted island, getting dressed each morning in whatever garments we have lying around is a daily ritual every one of us practices on a daily basis around the world, especially for those of us living in advanced countries. In America today, we have multiple mass retailers at our disposal on every busy corner in all major cities offering "fast fashion" at affordable prices. What most people across the country don't realize however, is that the majority of these attainable fashion pieces were made in careless environments by barely able hands for mere pennies. Granted, most of these consumers also don't care. As long as they continue to have access to affordable "high fashion" they are good. Do not bother them with the details of how that maxi dress made it on the rack to be sold for only $15. Just get out of their way because they have a bbq to attend and need to look cute without breaking the bank. I get it. I really do. I, too, used to be that big time bargain shopper, hitting Forever21, H&M and Zara weekly to pad my closet with the latest trends on a freelancer's budget without a care in the world if my new purchases pilled or unravelled after a single wash. I wanted to look fashionable, dammit, and I only wish I could have afforded the better designer stuff.
Then I grew up, met high quality garments I could still afford and, well, everything changed.
If you care about fashion even a little bit, if you search for quality and think that you deserve it (hint: you do), a little research on the manufacturing and production side to the industry can't hurt. I recently watched the documentary "The True Cost", available on Netflix, and it really changed the way I see mass retailers today. Over the years easy access, affordability, and high demand from mostly American consumers has only increased clothing and accessory production resulting in "fast fashion"--clothing that is made swiftly and cheaply in mass quantities and sold at mass retailers for a bargain. Quality garments really don't need to be so irresponsibly produced to still be affordable, however. I might not have the platform just yet to really make a difference in the world of fast-fashion, but I intend to get there eventually. In the mean time, I've stopped supporting these guilty retailers by not shopping in their stores, no matter how good the merchandise appears to be nor the sales. Not that Zara would ever notice my absence. The CEO surpassed Bill Gates in acquired financials for a hot second recently; ironic given the fact that the company's garment makers make a handful of change a day and live in mostly third world countries. Still, I must do my part if I'm going to continue to talk about this industry like I know something.
A chef that loves to cook and feed people doesn't put out cuisine poorly made in a rundown, unclean kitchen and charge those guests to eat it anyway. Fashion lovers and supporters don't have to wear controversial clothing all in the name of "affordable style". If you're truly passionate about something, make it count by supporting it entirely.