Who Made Your Clothes? A Look Into Fast Fashion and The True Costs Behind It…
What does ‘Fast Fashion’ mean to you? It might mean low prices and new styles every week, if not every day, which make it easy for us to spend and keep up with trends. Many major clothing companies like Fashion Nova, Forever21 and H&M have become incredibly popular fast fashion retailers. This means that instead of operating off of the traditional seasonal system, where new clothes come out every 3 months, these fashion giants have new clothing trends that hit stores every week. While it’s great to find a cute top at a cheap price (trust me, I’m a millennial too and a bargain can be hard to resist), there are hidden environmental and social costs behind that top. Sometimes things are too good to be true and fast fashion is one of them. Check out this video below from Kristen Leo to get a better handle on the premise behind fast fashion.
So, let’s talk about the environment first. According to an article published by The Guardian, the textile industry is responsible for 1.2 billion tons of CO2 per year which is more than the combination of international aviation and shipping. In addition, massive volumes of water are consumed and pollution is also pegged onto the environmental bill as well.
Now let’s examine the social aspect. You might ask, “How can this top be $4?”. Clothing can only be sold at that price if the workers who produce the clothes are paid extremely low wages. Often, workers in sweatshop factories are paid by how many pieces they produce per day. For example, one worker in charge of sewing necklines might get paid 10 cents per neckline sewed. They may work 11 hours, and get paid $66, that’s $6/hour. Many workers can’t sew fast enough to make minimum wage per hour. That is hours of back curling labor for very little reward.
Another question you might ask is, “How are these giant name-brand retailers getting away with poor conditions and paying way below minimum wage?”. The answer is a 20-year-old law stating that workers can recoup back wages from their factory boss or the garment manufacturing company affiliated with that factory. A lot of these companies such as Forever 21 find a loophole in this law by hiding behind it’s retailer status, making it one step removed from this law that holds factories responsible and not retailers. What’s even crazier is how retailers such as Forever 21 claim to check on their factories abroad, yet are negligent with their own factories right here in LA where they are headquartered. Learn more about this crisis in the video below from an LA Times article that you can check out here.
Finding alternatives to fast fashion can be a challenge. And we get it! It’s hard to pass up cheap clothes when they are so easy to come by. We are not here to judge anyone who buys these cheap clothes, but rather to provide an alternative to these fast fashion brands, where you can ensure your clothes have been made sweatshop free.
We recognize the crisis going on behind fast fashion and the fashion industry in general, we’ve taken the time to educate ourselves and we want to make sure that Peachy Keen paves a new way in the industry not only in inclusivity but in fair wages and treatment. We want to empower everyone from those who make our suits to those who wear our suits. How are we doing this? We did the research to find a manufacturer in Garden Grove, CA that pays garment makers fair wages, and provides a clean and safe work environment. We met with multiple manufacturers in LA before committing to our manufacturer, Euphoric Colors. The first thing you see when you walk into Euphoric Colors are the men and women sewing, stitching, and creating. While some manufacturers would not let us tour their facilities, Euphoric Colors has nothing to hide. No one is paid less than minimum wage and we are able to meet and talk to the people making the suit we love so, so much.
In terms of the environmental aspect of fashion, through our Kickstarter we are taking preorders to ensure that we don’t over-order for our first launch. We don’t want to create waste that will end up in a landfill. We truly are trying to be as educated and responsible as we possibly can. We are eager to start using Econyl, a fabric made mostly of recycled water bottles and far less damaging for the environment.
We’re incredibly excited to bring you our first suit and can’t wait to finally reveal it! But we also want to make sure we are doing this right and staying true to the goals we set for ourselves when Peachy Keen was just an idea on paper. Please sign up for our newsletter to stay informed on topics such as this, our launch, and more! Join our community based on positivity and empowerment, we love to have you on this journey with us. And remember, no judgement here, we love our community of #peachybabes!