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Sisterhood of the Unravelling Pants

For the Love of Clothes: And a Better World

Women are only getting stronger and more unified with each passing day. Specifically, in western culture, we are more educated and empowered more than ever. We dont back down when we hear of inequality or injustice of any sort. We put on the pussy hats and fight. Go us! Whats even more inspiring is that we have embraced each other and all our backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures. With modern technology, we have access to limitless information across the globe. We are able to connect, support, and better inform ourselves on what our sisters lives are like on other sides of the pond.  

 

We may not have traveled to every single country to know the exact life circumstances of our fellow sisters. But today, there is no excuse to not use our voices to uplift each other’s lives.  We are family, and as family of women, we have so much in common.

 

A fun and universal perk of being a modern woman, is that we are able to express ourselves not only with our intangible character but in palpable ways as well. Who we are can be discovered in the way we do our hair, the way we apply our makeup, and of course in the array of clothing we model on our bodies. Whether or not you consider yourself a fashionista, chances are you wear clothes every single day of your life. The clothes we wear are a representation of our culture, personality, and our being. We know how good it feels to find a new sexy top or jeans that fit just right. Yes, score; looking good and feeling even better! But do you ever think about that tag on your new sexy top? Or that tag on those jeans that fit just right?

 

Your tag will most likely say MADE IN CHINA. MADE IN CAMBODIA. MADE IN BANGLADESH etc.

 

That tag is an unexamined story of the real-life Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. But in this case, we have the Sisterhood of the Unravelling Pants. And its not literally the pants that are unravelling, but the system and process of getting them made that has faltered.

 

Over the last few decades, westerners have grown out-of-touch with where our clothes actually come from. Until the 1960s, 95% of our garments were manufactured in the U.S.  Today, only 3% of our clothes are actually made in our own country. 97% are made in other countries! What!?

 

This real-life story of the unravelling pants is referred to as Fast Fashion.

 

What is Fast Fashion?

 

Mega clothing brands export and expedite mass production of garments to get the latest trends of fashion to consumers pronto. Factories in developing countries bid for garment production by offering the lowest price to mega brands and often are contracted to push out multiple new styles in just a week. This hasty push for new trends has challenged the traditional approach of seasonal collections.   

 

We no longer have winter, fall summer and spring fashion lines being released, but a weekly quota to fill. The fashion industry is the largest its ever been. Today, it is a 3 trillion-dollar annual business, in which huge brands outsource clothing production to overseas factories. Many factories are in developing countries including China, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, etc. where employees don’t have even remotely close working rights we enjoy in the U.S.

 

85% of workers in these factories are women. They are often forced to work in degrading conditions; surroundings that westerners would be outraged by. Humanitarian, Film Producer, Livia Firth, traveled to a factory in Bangladesh to investigate working conditions for artisans who literally give blood, sweat, and tears to earn less than $2 a day. In 2013, a garment factory collapsed, killing 1,134 workers and injuring approximately 2,500 others. For months, those workers expressed concerns to building owners, but no actions were taken to make conditions safer. Little did they know their lives were in severe danger; dangerous conditions and no insurance or protection. To top that off, the work load is monumental and women can be fired easily for not meeting quotas.

  Livia Firth states that In this factory women have to produce 200 pieces an hour and they live on poverty wages and in really not great conditions and with no protection

– Livia Firth, photographed left.

 

How can we stand by and continue to allow these things to happen? Maybe this isnt your sister by birth but these are your sisters (and some brothers) who are being exploited. They deserve compensation and respect as human beings. If they demand the same rights as us in their countries, they will be beaten, fired from their jobs, harassed and condemned. We need to be their voice. With the freedom, liberties, and powerful impact we have in the western part of the world, we need to stand up for our amazing sisters who are abused for the almighty dollar. Free trade can also be fair trade for all involved.  We can help our sisters fight for that respect.

 

Be the change in a Fashion Revolution

 

With knowledge of Fast Fashion spreading like wildfire, there are many movements, programs, and opportunities we can immerse ourselves in to take action. Fashion designers including Stella McCartney and Tom Ford are at the leading front of modeling change. They are both fighting for ethical and environmentally sustainable practices in fashion. Joining the Fashion Revolution means you are supporting ethical and sustainable fashion.

 

Getting educated on this topic is the first place to start.  The True Cost documentary is a launching pad to learn about ethical fashion and also the environmental effects Fast Fashion has on the planet. Next join the Fashion Revolution!

 

For:

 

5 Tips on Practicing Sustainable Fashion and to learn about Brands who are Fashion Revolutionaries check out The True Cost website below.

 

We have an opportunity to harness our power as women, with fashion, to make the world a better place. Let’s do this!

 

Breanne Jenay Benson

Instagram: @breannejenay

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