Clothing Poverty: Hidden World of Fast Fashion, Second-Hand Clothes and Fast Fashion A book written by Andrew BrooksThis book explores the ways we shop for clothing and the implications for those who create it. While fashion brings us all together regardless of where we live, this global concept can lead to some problems.
It has been difficult for fashion professionals to keep up with changing trends. Brooks examines how the changing fashion landscape has affected those who work in this industry, from the rise of fast fashion to high cotton prices. Brooks also discusses how small adjustments in shopping habits can lead to big changes.
We label what (and how) we label
What we wear, whether it’s a daily uniform or a brand-new concoction every few hours, is an expression that conveys a powerful message about who we are. People don’t want other people to label them in order to make it easier for them to see one another. Andrew Brooks can say that this concept is important when it comes to the world of fashion too. One example is when someone is shopping, they may come across a label saying Made in China. The label might be all they see.
Andrew Brooks points out that even this simple statement doesn’t reveal everything about how the garment came together. Each individual loop might be a unique part of the world. In some cases, it’s cotton from multiple countries that has been pooled together to make a pair of jeans or a blouse. Buttons, zips and rivets: Each component of a clothing item introduces new people and places to the equation. Fashion can often be very exploitative. The truth is, however, that more intricate items will lead to more people and places. complex supply chainhidden serious injustices within its web.
What Fashion is for People
Fashion is open to everyone, even if we think fashionistas are the wealthy individuals who own some of today’s most famous designers. It doesn’t matter where you live, how much money you make or what your income is. Everyone can express themselves. The problem is that not everyone wants to think about the poverty that sometimes supports all the ‘good deals’ they find.
In Andrew Brooks’ book, he calls the reader’s attention to the steadily declining cost of cotton, and how that influenced the farmers and their families. He talks about how sweatshops haven’t been stamped out simply because they underwent bad press in the 1990s. Many people understand that sometimes cheap clothes can be the result of harsh working conditions. After all, there’s been enough reporting out there to support the tragic circumstances in some of the poorest parts of the world. Brooks works to update people’s understanding, though, so they have a better idea of how — and where — to shop.
Fast Fashion in the World
Fashion trends are always cyclical. The pace at which this cycle occurs has increased dramatically over the past few years. Now, people don’t shop just because a new season has begun, they shop all the time and for any number of reasons.
One example is when they see a favorite actress in a gown out and decide they would like to replicate it. Although they might not be able afford the original they can still afford to have a replica made using cheaper materials and easier labor. They may simply want to update their wardrobe. Clothing retailers will gladly help.
This acceleration is putting a lot on the workers and the environment. It is difficult for them to maintain the pace of the expectation, making it very taxing for everyone.
Growing as a conscientious buyer
While governments are more likely to make systemic changes in an industry, consumers have the power to decide where and how much they will spend their money. Andrew Brooks recommends learning more about where your clothes come from, and then using that information to decide what kinds of items you want to wear. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as deciding based on the label or even the price. Just because an item of clothing is expensive, doesn’t mean that the workers were treated fairly. To feel more comfortable with our clothing, he urges us all to see the big picture.