I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog post over the last couple of days, inspired by a newly discovered blog and worried by the tragic events in both Bangladesh and the earlier incident in Pakistan.
I’m referring, of course, to the building collapse in Bangladesh, killing hundreds of (mostly female) factory workers, labouring in a clearly unsafe building to feed the fashion addiction of the west. And if you think back about eight months you might also recall a similar incident, this time a fire in a textiles factory in Karachi where over 250 women died being unable to escape through the locked doors.
If I look through my wardrobe and or the girls’ cupboards I will find many labels with Made in Bangladesh, most costing very little and coming from one cheap department store or another. Even those clothes I or others have bought from smaller manufacturers and at greater expense carry a tag declaring it was made in some less developed part of the world where worker safety and salary are questionable to say the least. The quest for ever cheaper, constantly changing fashion of the major labels seems to have been at the expense of other women. A feminist issue if I ever heard one.
The other side of this story is the Zero Waste Home, a blog written by Bea. It’s an unbelievable journey that Bea, her husband and two teenage sons (or tween perhaps, I can’t remember) have embarked on, to live a life of zero waste….. I mean ZERO (she takes her own large plate to the pizza shop when they get take away, she’s used the same single hair tie for over a year, you get the idea). I’ve taken lots of ideas away from my reading so far, but it was her take on fashion that has got me thinking the most. Bea has a small wardrobe, everything inter-changable and adaptable (13 ways to wear a LBD anyone?) and everything bought second hand (unless it was purchased before the journey began). Every 6 months she goes through her wardrobe, takes out the items (that have been well cared for and still in good condition) that she has grown tired of, returns them to the op-shop and replaces them with an equal number of new op-shop items. More substantial items, like her gorgeous white blazer, she pays to be tailored so they fit well and will make up the permanent fixtures of her collection. Shoes are taken to the cobbler for repairs to increase their useable life, socks are darned and clothes are patched. Everything about this approach makes sense to me.
All this contemplation is quite timely for me as I contemplate my own wardrobe. It’s really not working for me, after two years of weight loss nothing fits quite right (or at all) and I’m especially struggling with finding clothes for the cooler weather. So instead of going out to buy more new clothes (that, let’s face it, may not fit in another year, the weight will come back eventually I assume) I am going to attempt to revamp some of the items I already have and seek out a few op shop finds to fill the remaining holes. As for the girls wardrobe, quite a lot of that is out of my control… to be honest I buy very few of their clothes, most are either presents from grandparents or hand-me-downs from friends (the latter fits nicely with this philosophy). But when I do need to stock up on some basics perhaps I will try to do so in a more ethical way.
I will write again on the Zero Waste theme as I get my head around some of the other concepts. I’ll also share my fashion finds, successes and probably failures. In the meantime, I think I might have my blogging hat back on…. we’ll see how long it lasts.