You may have heard the term ‘Fashion Revolution’ floating around over the past few years. What is it, you may ask?
and is exactly what you might imagine it embodying – a straightforward push for companies to provide a clear answer on who is involved in getting your beloved garments to you. And more importantly: information on environments within the supply chain, and if it’s for a livable working wage.
Unfortunately, this is often not the case, particularly with larger fast fashion brands.
Many will source offshore in sweatshops. Employees (including children) are working unreasonable hours, in poor conditions, only to be paid a substantially small wage, keeping them well below the poverty line. Bigger companies may have the loophole to cut corners so that the rich stay rich at the expense of the poor. Inequality at it’s sneakiest.
So what can we do, as a consumer, to ensure we are contributing to the call for positive change within the fashion industry?
The 1. Recycle, reduce, reuse
Environmentally speaking, it is wise to try and think outside of the box when it comes to maintaining the clothes you already have. This is key to minimizing the effects of the current climate and landfill issues that are already present.
Purchase items with the intent that you will continue to wear each piece until it’s dying day. Tend to them according to the care instructions provided to maintain the longevity of your garments. Then D.I.Y. them, patch them up, refurbish them into a freshly personalized item with a brand new lifespan.
If you don’t want an item anymore, donate them to your local op shop (if you’re located in Brisbane, we have our own op shop called Local Opy where 100% of the proceeds are currently going to the WIRES Wildlife Rescue Organization), or pass them on to a friend that always compliments you when you’re wearing that item.
2. Buy small, buy local.
Of course there are times where you will find the urge to go shopping with your mates or need to add to your wardrobe, and that is completely fine! There are ethical ways to do so.
Aside from keeping a minimalistic approach to buying, try to commit to buying local – ideally from local businesses. There are so many innovative and ethical brands that are basically at your doorstep. Particularly with the current closures of small Australian companies during the COVID-19 outbreak, this is a crucial time to support the local economy and creative fashion industry during this dire time. Remember that you have the power as a citizen and consumer to vote with your dollars.
Don’t be afraid to do your research and ask questions regarding sustainable supply chain and company practices to assist your purchases with ethical confidence. A great guideline online is the yearly Ethical Fashion Guide by Baptist World Aid Australia.
3. SWOP in, SWOP out!
Alternatively, you can buy, sell and trade your clothing at your local SWOP Clothing Exchange (located in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne). We are currently offering contactless buying appointments, where you can either receive 25% of the total resale value as cash, or 50% of the resale value as credit to buy more secondhand gems for your collection!