Fast fashion is the practice of recreating runway looks for the masses at low prices and at record speed. It used to be that designers would spend several months working on a collection for an upcoming season, doing their best to predict what trends would be popular among the general population. However, with the rise of the internet, trending topics and celebrities sharing their personal lives and day to day looks through their own social media pages, the task and demand of staying on trend has become an ever increasing pressure.
Fast fashion brands have begun coming out with mini collections each week to keep up with the most current trends. The only way to produce so many pieces of clothing in such a short amount of time and still make a profit is by over working and underpaying the garment workers. Since labor is usually cheaper in countries overseas and labor laws are more lax, the United States outsources a large portion of its fashion products to foreign producers, many of whom are victims of labor trafficking. In 2015, 97% of America’s clothes were outsourced from countries such as Bangladesh, Vietnam, and India, with the average garment worker in Bangladesh earning about $2 a day.
Many of these garment workers are working in unsanitary environments, in unsafe building structures and under the threat of punishment and abuse if daily goals and quotas are not met. Fast fashion largely requires the exploitation of garment workers (many of whom are children) in order to exist and thrive. Fast fashion is all about supply and demand, if we want to put a stop to forced labor in the textile industry, we have to start by rejecting fast fashion and begin shopping with transparent and intentionally ethical brands.
Below are some of our favorite slow fashion brands all with survivor-made products.:
Sudara is a clothing brand that creates jobs and provides skills training for women in India at risk of sex trafficking.
Hands Producing Hope is a one stop shop for ethically made apparel, home goods and paper goods, providing dignified work, education, & hope for women in Baton Rouge, Costa Rica, & Rwanda.
Savhera provides pure organic essential oils and accessories through dignified employment for the brave survivors of sexual exploitation in India and the United States.
Aruna is an athleisure accessories brand providing goods through the hands of free and skilled artisans who have survived human trafficking.
Freeleaf is a home décor and jewelry line that provides employment, holistic care, support and encouragement to women who have survived abuse and exploitation.
Sources used for captions and blog.