"There are tens of millions of people in slavery today of which nearly 1 in 3 is a child. Researchers estimate 40 million are enslaved. 50% of slavery victims are in labor slavery, like manufacturing." - Free The Slaves
As someone who always used to buy "disposable clothes" (as my mother called them) because of the low price point, I know how tempting it is to buy a $5 shirt that may or may not work out.
My past mentality of, "Who cares, it's just $5" has evolved from me staring at a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear to a wardrobe of items I adore. And the best part? I have spent LESS money on clothes overall! And I want to tell you how I did it.
I used to be the kind of person that would spend $20 on 3 shirts I kinda liked, rather than 1 shirt I loved. Idk if y'all can relate - but earning a living is hard and I've always desired versatility in my wardrobe. But is it really versatile when you wear the same 3 shirts cause your multitude of others don't fit right or shrunk in the wash?
I now only have clothes in my closet that I love. And the best part? It can be done on a tight budget. I can buy super nice secondhand clothes. Silk, wool, cotton - materials that last a life time if you let them. Woolite home dry cleaning kit is my favorite. I don't have to spend a fortune on dry cleaning and can do it at home!
How do I not get bored with my wardrobe? Easy! Reuse! Upcycling clothes has been one of my favorite projects. I used to toss clothes that had holes, missing buttons, or stains. But since then, I've watched a ton of YouTube videos on how to sew on buttons, how to repair holes, and how to sew on patches. I also learned how to distress denim jeans and how to make cut off shorts from mom jeans. This enables me to reuse things I would have otherwise thrown away.
Also, when you buy clothes that are good quality and that you really love - you can wear them again and again without getting tired of them.
Shopping secondhand has been a lifesaver for me. You can find the best deals! And so many cool pieces. If you don't like sifting through dusty smelly clothes racks, you can check out my website and order unique vintage gems straight from there 😉
Likewise, Plato's Closet and places like that are also great. You can find trendy items for a fraction of the price and not feel bad about supporting slave labor! If you have an item you don't like anymore - give it to a friend! I used to work at a thrift shop and you would be surprised how many items they throw away or send to 3rd world countries (which is creating a lot of disease and pollution in places like Haiti.)
When I have a pile of stuff to get rid of, I usually let all my friends dig through it and find things they like. I try to ask myself, "will this stuff sell at Platos Closet? Will Goodwill actually try to sell this? Can I use the fabric to make anything else from it?" There are some great recipes to make homemade beeswax wrap to replace plastic wrap. If you learn basic sewing you can make pillows, bibs, diapers, underwear, and a variety of things with old tattered clothes!
So... Why is this important?
In her book, "Where Does Discarded Clothing Go?" Elizabeth Cline tells us that the average American household produces 70 pounds (32 kg) of textile waste every year. The residents of New York City discard around 193,000 tons of clothing and textiles, which equates to 6% of all the city's garbage. That's crazy!!
In 2013 there was a garment factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The even is known as Rana Plaza. The building was 8 stories high and although the garment workers had notified authorities of cracks in the walls and unsafe working conditions, their cries for help went unheard. When the building fell, 1,134 died and approximately 2,500 were injured.
Fast fashion brands like H&M, Forever 21, and others don't care about these poor souls. They care about producing as many clothes as possible as fast as possible. Why? For us -- the consumers! Because that's what we ask for when we shop there. By spending our dollars at these places, we are supporting sweatshops and unfair working conditions. Once I realized this I had to rethink where my dollars were going.
The garment workers are people. They have names like you and me. They have families. Even while we know all of this - it's still tempting to shop there! Why? The low price point. But now that I've given you some tools on how to save your clothes and buy nice ones on the cheap cheap - you can oppose slave labor with your dollars without even a stitch more effort on your part.
Together we can make a difference! One person at a time! Feel free to email me with any questions. Don't forget to check out my website and follow me on instagram @salemsumpvintage