The way we shop clothes has changed. According to lifehack.org, in the 1960’s the average American household spent about 10% of their income on clothes and shoes, and the average shopper bought just 25 garments every year.
Today? The average household spends less than 4% of its income on clothes and shoes, but the average shopper buys around 70 garments a year. That’s almost three times as much as sixty years ago.
The Problem with Fast Fashion
So what changed? How are we able to afford more clothes for way less? The answer is outsourcing. When clothiers started moving their production overseas, they cut costs in a major way by not having to employ workers under the same standards as they would have in North America. The result was cheaper, but poorer quality clothing that was only made possible by taking advantage of workers in parts of the world where low income and long hours were the norm.
4 Reasons to Choose Sustainability
Sustainable clothing is the answer to this problem. By creating higher quality garments in the same region where people are purchasing them, some companies like Local Laundry are making a positive impact on the fashion industry. Here are a few reasons why you should believe in sustainable clothing if you don’t already:
1) Sustainable Clothing Lasts Longer
How much you paid for a garment is usually a good indicator of how well it was made (though not always—shoutout thrifters). When you purchase a sustainably made garment, the quality is tangible in how it looks and feels; even in how it holds up over time.
When you buy ethical garments, you’re purchasing quality and saying goodbye to clothes that wear out after just a few washes or turn into a mess of loose threads after a single spin in the dryer. Ethical clothing is more expensive, but when you buy better quality, you can stop buying as much.
2) Sustainable Clothing Pays a Fair Wage
Sustainable clothing supports local jobs and your local economy. Plus, you can rest easy knowing that the people who crafted your clothing are working under fair conditions and earning a respectable living that helps them provide for their families.
3) Ethical Clothing is Sustainable
Part of the reason we have fast fashion is because of an insatiable societal demand for more, now. We are finally witnessing the effects of impatience when it comes to acquiring new garments, and the result is a totally unsustainable method of manufacture which is hurting the environment and underpaying workers.
Ethical clothing helps us curb our consumerism and practice patience whilst simultaneously re-assigning value to the creation of a quality garment. And it’s sustainable because it:
- Doesn’t put unreasonable timelines on manufacture
- Uses less water in the production process
- Is paid for fairly from the source to the consumer
4) Sustainable Clothing is Green
(Don’t worry—sustainable clothing comes in more than more colour.) We mean green like the grass in your backyard and like the beautiful planet we all call home. Because shopping a local sustainable clothing brand means saving the environment!
Not only does local clothing not need to be shipped across the planet, it’s not produced in the same way as it is in other parts of the world where environmental standards still have a long way to go. For example, the water ratio used in overseas clothing manufacture is twenty to one. Here in Canada? It’s just five to one.
Ethical clothing is made right in your own backyard, small batch, and without the need for big smoke pumping factories.
Garment For Social Good
When you make the conscious decision to choose sustainability over convenience, you’re putting perspective back into your purchasing habits and helping create a positive change in the world. When you believe in sustainable clothing, you’re also putting your faith in a greener planet, and the betterment of others, plus you get quality garments to last you a lifetime.
Written by Danny Randell
Danny Randell holds a Bachelor's Degree in history with a minor in business administration. He is a passionate writer and lyricist, and currently a major contributor to the Helcim blog at Helcim Inc., a financial technology company in Calgary. View his portfolio of work at dannyrandell.com or contact him here to have him write for you!