It’s only natural that when you finally come to terms with the disparate nature of mass-manufactured apparel, that you seek alternative modes of dress. Take into consideration that in 1965, 95% of clothing worn in the United States was produced domestically, with the remaining 5% consisting of imports. In 2013, that number has been reversed, with almost all of commercially produced garments being made in just about every other country except North America. Which, from a capitalist point of view may be considered a good thing—good for cutting costs on labor and distribution, contributing to higher profits. But what does this mean for the consumer, you may ask?
It means that when you consume from places like Forever 21, H&M or the Gap, you are buying into and supporting a system that degrades the integrity of clothesmaking as a whole, where garments, shoes and accessories are usually made in foreign, industrialized sweatshops where the often harried process is conspicuously detached from the end product. It’s a system that breeds ill-treatment of workers, unfair wages, and does a grave disservice to the populace by selling overpriced, poorly made wares.
If you’re uncomfortable with your hard-earned money going into the hands of corporate misers whose interests are nothing more than self-serving at the expense of any grain of morality, then it’s time for you procure with consciousness. What this means is that you make a corroborative effort to support your local thrift and vintage stores and buy recycled clothing as well as American made, eliminating your contribution to the sweatshop trade in which these oligarchies capitalize on.
In lieu of following the masses, it’s more important than ever to make more positive, conscious efforts in regards to the things we consume. The ravaging effects made by these entities can only get worse if we continue to feed their bottom lines. It’s a simple change that can make a world of difference–and looks better too.