Rhonda LaBatt is the founder of Redemption Market, an ethical boutique where women can shop for freedom, and where every purchase supports a cause. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and three amazing teenage daughters. Rhonda loves all things green and growing and has a habit of collecting too many plants.
Made With Love
Fashion is an amazing tool for expressing our individuality, for showing the world a unique sense of who we are as people, as women. However, we sometimes forget that there are other lives affected by what we wear, those of our sisters in faraway places who are creating the outfits we pull out of our closets.
Take a quick look at the tag inside your shirt. Where was it made? Vietnam? Cambodia? Bangladesh? Rarely are garments produced where they are worn. The problem is that we are often disconnected from the source of what we wear.
Why A Deal Isn't Always A Deal
I always used to believe that if I picked up a dress from Ross or H&M for $10, that I was a super savvy shopper. Now I see things differently. There is a price that we pay when we go to our favorite store and pick out a new outfit, but there is also a price that is paid on the other end of the supply chain by the workers who made it. We need to connect the dots, realizing that the t-shirt we bought at the mall was made by human hands. A garment might be held together with stitches of freedom - that job might bring an income that supplies a family with food, education, or shelter. However, many times, an article of clothing has been produced in sadness or even slavery. It is very common for large garment factories to treat their workers unethically, through long hours, low pay, and no time off. It is wise to do a little research to make sure our purchases aren’t supporting these practices.
Make A Change
The great news is that the awareness of this poor worker treatment is growing, and many powerful men and women around the world are rising up to make a change. It’s called The Fashion Revolution.
Here are 5 easy things you can do to take part:
- Do a little research. By searching “ethical clothing”, you can easily find ratings for your favorite stores.
- Don’t buy items that are “disposable”, but instead pay attention to how items are made. Choose long-lasting items that are high quality.
- Watch the documentary "The True Cost" with a friend and visit the Fashion Revolution website.
- Repurpose. Thrift stores are surprising sources of new styles and top name brand clothing for less, not to mention so much better for the environment.
- Realize that small changes make a big change. Just imagine if every woman replaced one item in her closet for one that is ethically made, how lives would be affected worldwide.
The topic doesn’t need to be heavy and depressing. Instead, we can realize that small changes can have a big impact, that there are hope and light in the fashion industry. Being mindful of purchases can go a long way in making lives better around the world, and we can leave a beautiful legacy to our daughters.