Did you know that the second largest polluter in the world is the fashion industry? GreenMatch says, “The term Fast Fashion was recently born to describe the trend of low-cost highly fashionable garments that are sold by giant brands which led to accelerated damage to the environment.”
Large companies are selling the idea that consumption will solve all your life problems. And for those companies, it is all about the profit. Clothing companies that have their products made in sweatshops overseas either don’t realize or care about the impact they are having on their worker’s life and the environment.
Overseas, people in sweatshops working 12+-hour days in terrible conditions that violate fundamental U.S. labor laws. The documentary True Cost shows the conditions and stories of what workers in those countries have to deal with just make the bare minimum to survive. The people who make our clothing are literally shedding blood over our clothes. And that is not acceptable.
The companies may say how often their employees want to work, but that’s only because of how little they are being paid. And it’s not about how much they want to work but the conditions they are working in. In Bangladesh, a clothing factory collapsed while killing and burying alive over 1,000 people.
A quick death is one thing, but that isn’t the only way the clothing industry is affecting these people. Fertilizers and pesticides are creating a lasting effect. In India, people are having skin problems, diagnosed with jaundice, cancer, and bear children with chemical-induced birth defects. True Cost tells us the companies who make the chemicals are the ones who also mediate for the farmers who get sick. These companies keep getting profit and winning when people are suffering.
The chemicals are also polluting our environment. If more people purchased or created organic clothing, as they do for foods, there can be a bigger impact around the world. We can do better, but will it happen fast enough for our environment? There needs to be a new chapter in the fashion industry.
By Nicole Pierce