think global, act local

 A common question I get is "why are your pieces so expensive?"  

I don't mind one bit because it gives me a chance to talk about the importance of ethical and sustainable production. The attention around sustainable fashion is growing and with good reason, the mass-market fashion industry is one of the largest polluters and contributors to our climate crisis. And further, responsible for grave inequities in labor wages and employee injustices. 

If you take a single garment, like a pair of jeans, there are up to 100 people who come in direct contact with that garment. Weaving the fabric, cutting it into patterns, sewing and assembling the zippers and buttons involves dozens of people.  This journey, from seed to store, is a long one that passes through more than 100 farmworkers, designers and factory workers. And it takes 1800 gallons of water to produce a single pair of jeans!  As consumers, we may be miles away from the many people making our clothes, but the impact of our purchasing choices is direct and profound.  Its imperative that we know who makes our clothing so we can shop with intention and purpose, and to seek out brands and stores, that respect and support the people who make your clothes.

When I am selecting designers for Dish, aligning our values is paramount. I typically start with, “where are your designs made and under what conditions?” Buying responsibly, and demanding that all brands respect workers in the production chain, is the easiest way we can contribute to a more sustainable apparel industry. 

One of my favorite designers, Tracy Reese has done just that. Her line, Hope for Flowers,  is centered on sustainable and ethical production. Using a completely different business model, she strives for responsible, accessible fashion while keeping a commitment to community. Her art enrichment programs for young and old are an integral part of her business model, as she teaches people about the importance of investing in sustainable fashion.

As Tracy says, "There are a number of simple things we can do to change some of our habits. When it comes to clothing, we can select items that we need, that really bring us joy, that we will keep and wear for a long time. We can be more curious about the brands that we buy from."

The changes needed in the fashion industry are far and wide. And there are many of us who have committed to this change, but the biggest force for good comes from consumers. Where we spend our dollar really does matter. And yes, a garment made responsibly, that compensates the people and communities who help make it, may cost a little more, but it is an investment piece for all the right reasons – an investment in a better world. 

As consumers, our power is our voice and our choice, so:

Invest in quality and well designed pieces ~ quality over quantity  

Find brands that are centered on empowering workers, and sustainable practices  

Support local stores that are value centered and being conscious about the lines they carry






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