I wasn’t expecting this. I was expecting to watch a documentary on Netflix that would lead me to question the way I buy clothes for my family… But I did watch the documentary, and it did cause me to rethink the way I buy clothes.
Like most families, my family is on a budget. So much so, that we don’t even have a budget line for clothes because there are other things we prioritize putting in the budget: like food, and paying off debt… and tacos. Seriously we have set a budget to get breakfast tacos on Sunday morning. Priorities, y’all.
Ok, back on track. So, I’m looking on Netflix for something to watch, and I like to learn new things, so I’m usually watching a documentary on Netflix when I choose to watch something. After watching every single food documentary on Netflix, I picked The True Cost. It was something different. Something to take my mind off of the fact that I’ve considered adopting a vegan lifestyle about 1,017 times but haven’t taken the blunge yet. This documentary caused me to think about another lifestyle change.
It opened up my eyes to truly see how our demands for cheap, fast clothing has caused so many others to lose out on a fair wage, decent working conditions, and in some cases their own lives. I urge you to watch it.
I was also enlightened about everything involved in the different materials of clothing. I’m pretty careful about the foods I purchase for my family, the products I use to clean our home, and the way I care for my family’s health. I try to stick with organic and nontoxic products, but I never considered my family’s clothing to be a source of toxic material. I mean, it’s cotton, right?! What could be wrong with cotton? I never knew that the majority of our clothes are made from GMO toxic cotton. I never knew the amount of pesticides used to spray on the crops and the surrounding areas affected by the residues of those pesticides, seeping in their water supply, in the air, and in our clothes.
What does this mean for me? I don’t exactly know, I can’t answer that right now. I do know that now I’m asking questions like: What’s in the material of this cotton? What country was this shirt made in? Were the workers provided a fair wage and a safe work environment?
Now I’m looking at much more than just the price tag. I know now that when I’m “getting a steal,” I really am getting just that: a steal. Someone worker, probably a woman in Bangladesh was robbed out of a decent wage. She is most likely struggling to survive and care for her children.
Realistically speaking, it’s not in my budget to buy only organic made/fair wage clothing. But do you know what is in my budget right now? Wearing hand me down clothes from friends instead of buying new clothes often, borrowing a dress for a special occasion rather than buying a dress I’ll only wear a handful of times a year, I can reach out to my talented friends that make clothing and ask them to sew items I need… and I can spread the word. Let’s look at more than just the price tag. Let’s look at the material, look at the country our clothes are made in, and look at the lives impacted.
Let’s help each other! What companies do you know that provide a fair wage to their textile workers? Do you know companies that use organic materials in their clothing? What are your thoughts?