Fashion is more than just clothing. It is an art. It is a language. It is how you speak to a room before you say anything. It is an icebreaker. It is a representation of who you are and what you want to be.
If fashion is a representation of who we are and how we see ourselves then why are we complicit in wearing and promoting clothing that represents some of the darkest parts of a global supply chain that we so abhor when we look at that same issues through another lens.
Norm core aside the only time fashion isn't sexy is when we look at how it's made. Fashion is a dirty business. In fact it is the second dirtiest industry on earth after oil and gas.
Slavery, toxic waste, environmental degradation, drought are all issues that thousands of us care deeply about and yet somehow we don't connect back to fashion.
We don't think about where our clothing comes from or what happens to it after we dispose of it. We don't account for the human and environmental toll that making our shirts or our jeans takes. We've taken a beautiful art form and commoditized it. It's a shitty reverse paradigm of Andy Warhol.
And yet... Clean up fashion and you can change the world. Clean up fashion and you can save billions of gallons of water, reduce cancer causing pesticides from seeping into our land and food, minimize landfill waste, get toxic dyes out of our river streams and deal a crushing blow to those who profit off slave labor.
In the age of Instagram and online fame we've lost touch with the real beauty of fashion and instead treat it as a commodity. We treat fashion like we would a burger. Spend $15 on it, consume it and throw it away.
But, that equation changes when you know the story behind your clothing. That all changes when you are proud of what you are wearing and when you appreciate the work as an art form. That all changes when you realize the good you are doing not just for your health but for the health of the planet and of others.
We all buy stuff we don't need. Buy a $10 bracelet and you might wear it once and then you've probably lost it. But you buy a handcrafted bracelet made from unexplored recycled landmines by Laotian artisans? That you aren't throwing away. It has meaning and is a story you can be proud of.
The next time you go shopping, ask yourself: whether it's the environment, your health or human rights what do I really care about? And then, can I be proud of whatever I am buying.