Our planet is facing a more imminent danger than ever, all because of human activities. In the current fashion landscape, you’re rewarded for being cruel to labour and animals.
Mass productions cut costs back, driving up profits. What do low costs actually mean? That means you have cows swamped in farms so tiny that they can’t even walk to get a breath of fresh air. And it means cows getting slaughtered when they are a baby because of greater flexibility as it’s widely believed.
We want leather shoes made from cow skin yet we don’t want it to show any signs of life. Did you know that mosquito bites on leather are considered inferior in the fashion industry? A flawless piece of leather is the best, without any signs that the cow ever lived.
Having mosquito bites tell you the cow was once alive, running in the field, chewing on grass. Yet, it’s condemned to have such marks. If we don’t want any signs of life coming from a living being, it’s best to switch over to synthetic leather instead.
The fault lies within the pricing system in the fashion industry, of companies being awarded for being cruel. Growing up, we’re told that kindness yields you rewards. But the pricing system tells us that cruelty yields you better profits.
Money is a very realistic concern. Not everyone has enough money to buy a $2000 pair of shoes to save animals. If the pricing system doesn’t change, the outlook of the industry will remain the same.
It should lie within the multi-billion companies to take up the initiative to revolutionize the industry. Unfortunately, most won’t change as they’re already earning too much from it.
As consumers, the best we can do is to not create such high demands for it. It’s hard to completely cut out fast fashion when you’re not financially stable, which is a concern for most. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help make a change.
Ask yourself, do you really need this extra blouse? Are there not enough blouses in your closet? While you might not afford good-will clothing with the current pricing system, you can decrease the demand by simply not making a purchase when it’s unnecessary.
A small step goes a long way. Companies respond to price signals and demands. If people would rather not purchase than to purchase clothes with ethical and environmental concerns, companies will have to make the business decision to respond to consumer’s concern.
We still have a long way to come in this battle, but we are all equally important in this fight. Everyone can make a difference. By simply reevaluating your needs and buying one less dress from the fast-fashion chain, you’re already making a difference.
People make the world. We have the power to decide what we want and what we don’t want.
A guest post by Kimmy Cheung.
A digital nomad traveling the world to collect stories trying to make the world a better place!
Cover photo by Martin Adams, second photo by Hannah Morgan, third photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash. Photo of Kimmy Cheung kindly provided by Kimmy Cheung.