This Sunday marks the third anniversary of the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh which killed 1,133 and injured 2,500 garment workers, most of whom were women. But the deadliest garment factory disaster ever was just the peak of the iceberg. Many fast-fashion as well as luxury companies have a long history of sweatshop labour, dangerous working conditions, ethical and environmental issues raised in their supply chains accompanied by distraction marketing methods, empty promises and outright lies.
The fact is that many of the high street brands are sending out on the streets approximately 50 collections per year in order to deliver us the latest, the most fashionable items before anyone else does. Go for a walk through main shopping streets in Ljubljana, London, New York or Shanghai on any day of the week and you will see masses of people enticed by cheap price tags and the adrenaline rush of bagging a bargain. We all love a great deal, right?
The problem is that we have internalized the feeling that our work can be rewarded by buying more and more stuff and on the way gained unrealistic expectation of what fashion should cost and how much of it we deserve to bring home every month.
Harmony between comfort, practicality and style is the main concept behind Studio August’s design process. Particular importance is attached to careful choice of natural materials and attention to all steps of the manufacturing process. Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified fabric mills and sustainable fabric fairs are the cornerstone of Studio August’s fabric sourcing.
Let’s write it down, once and for all: the great looking dress you desire or the shirt you bought last week simply cannot cost as much as the meal in fast-food restaurant without taking a great toll on workers and the environment.
Janja Videc operates socially responsible, local and sustainable. Avoiding the seasonal changes, brand is based on a monochromatic color scale, well thought tailoring and geometrically shaped patterns and is consequently wearable in many different ways, anytime of the year.
It’s true, brands must take individual responsibility for all the ethical and environmental issues raised in their supply chains, but only the collaborative effort of consumers will transform the industry. When the representatives of the Fashion Revolution, organisation that challenges the fashion industry to provide greater transparency, safer work places, fair pay and adresses its environmental issues, were asked how much has changed in the last three years, the findings weren’t really encouranging: “brands are still acting with impunity, they’re doing a lot of cosmetic work but none of the groundwork. When we spoke to garment workers at the Rana Plaza memorial last year, they said there was no difference to their working conditions.”
So what we can do? The easisest way to become more sustainable consumer is to resist buying things with impossibly low pricetags and avoid the buy-and-toss behaviour. Those clothes you bought impulsly might have been cheap to you, but once you add to them their real cost someone else had to pay, you see that cheap in fashion simply doesn’t exist.