Slow, green, ethical, conscious, sustainable, eco, and fair trade are all terms used to categorize products that are made with a level of integrity. But what exactly does that mean?
There once was a time when fashion had two seasons, spring/summer and winter/fall. Today, fashion has approximately 52 micro seasons.
Everything is made quickly, sold quickly and replaced with something new even more quickly.
With this kind of turnover, we’ve been trained to believe that if we pass on an opportunity to buy something, it will most likely not be there when we return. Besides, it’s only $12 and we can always return it.
Yet, as we have all experienced, the likelihood of returning our $12 impulse purchase won’t happen. This is when we whimper and cry about having ‘nothing to wear’ while our closets suggest the opposite.
Society has come to label this phenomenon ‘fast-fashion’.
Take a moment, and picture all the popular stores, brands, online shopping, and resources we can purchase garments from. (For example, there are 5,229 walmarts in the United States). Now think about all of the clothes hanging on racks, folded up on shelves, lying on the floor in the dressing rooms, and being shipped out from warehouses in boxes.
Who made all of this product? Where does it all come from?
Say a brand needs 400 tops made by a certain date. They commission a company that offers this order to several factories (aka sweatshops). These factories then bid on the order and the lowest bid wins. These supremely low-priced items sound great to a buyer's ears, but they create a domino effect that results in terrible consequences. Mainly, wages for the workers making said garments.
In a third world country, the average take home pay for workers is $10 per week — That’s roughly $2 for an entire day’s wage. Not only is the pay rate absurd, but the conditions, the hours, and the resources are just as bad and sometimes worse. (Think child labor, human trafficking, health hazards due to toxic chemicals etc).
You may recall when the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed in 2013. 1,137 people died, 200 remain missing, and 2,500 were left injured — all so we could buy that $12 shirt.
This is just one facet of the industry — it doesn’t even begin to touch on the waste and pollution issues — or the origins of materials and their environmental impact. There are so many questions and honestly, very few answers at this point. But that’s why Tapered was born, and it’s why we are passionate about the brands we promote on our site.
It’s not easy to dive into the nitty gritty of what happens behind scenes because... well it’s a lot. It can be depressing and disheartening. So instead of overloading you in one fell swoop, we plan on aiding you with additional information and research in future articles over time.
Sometimes it’s easier in life to overlook the hard things. But just because we choose to ignore them, doesn’t mean the problem goes away.
As a community, we have the opportunity to join together and choose something better for ourselves and for our world.
This is why we choose to be conscious consumers.
All our love,
PS. The True Cost, (available on Netflix) is an excellent documentary about fast fashion and gives you a tiny glimpse into the world behind our clothes.