When the question "what's in your fridge" is raised, it is supposed to reveal a lot about who we are as a person, reflecting on our lifestyle and values we chose to live by.
Thinking about your closet, it is exactly the same. Of course the economic aspect is decisive because not everyone can afford luxury, high-end designer products.
But what really matters is the impact every single one of our purchases mirrors on a global scale.
Have you ever thought about the impact you may be having?
Let's start with a basic pair of jeans. Some stores today can sell a 10 dollar pair of jeans to their customers. How do you think this is even possible to offer, while still making the company a profit? Have you tried to make a pair of jeans yourself? If you for some reason have, you will know it takes a lot of time.
Per hour, to make that pair of jeans, how much do you think you would get?
Truthfully, no more than 5 dollars if you make it in 2-hours. At this point the pair of jeans would have to be sold for at least 30 dollars because on top of your salary, there is a transport cost to the selling point, pricing of the rental selling space, electricity bills, merchandising, salary of the employees, and a marketing budget to promote this pair of jeans. Going back to point A there is also the cost of the fabric used to make it, unless in this case it would clearly be a cheap fabric used, made with harmful chemicals.
Stores will never sell if the product is at a loss and not benefiting them in a positive way. So, if you put all these elements together and think, for a pair of jeans priced at only 10 dollars the people who are making them are actually paid about 2.75 dollars per hour. In places such as China, for 6 days of work they are in total racking up to 10 hours per day, guaranteed with no breaks and pay reaching an all time low of 1.75 dollars per hour if made by a child (they consider children more slow so less productive).
If made in Indonesia, workers who are making these jeans for consumers are paid 0.86 dollars per hour, children are paid 0.50!
For example India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Myamar, etc… have the exact same circumstances.
All those salaries only provide for 43% of the vital needs of a worker and their families such as housing, food, transportation, education and healthcare, doing the math these are extremely insufficient funds. That is why those workers live in complete poverty and die at a young ages from complete exhaustion and sickness, they do not chose this life by choice. Their salaries could easily be double or tripled but they have no other option because our shameless US and European brands who try to always have the cheapest cost in order to sell as many quantities possible.
That is the reality of a “cheap” or “affordable” pair of pants. It is currently happening right now in the world we live in. As you read this and think you have nothing to do with this that is far from the truth. We are just happy to buy another pair of 10 dollars jeans to fill up our closets, right?
Please, stop buying and supporting fast fashion brands and feeding this vicious circle. Buy ethically. Buy responsibly. Buy things you know are made in good conditions by people who deserve to live decently too. Buy local, buy Made in USA, buy Made in France.
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