For the better part of this century, Fast Fashion has been one of the few apparel industry “success” stories. That is, if you define success as corporate dictated fashion trends, completely new looks every month or so, and addictingly low prices that make it possible to take part in the whole thing. H&M, Forever 21, Zara, Old Navy. Brands like these normalized the $10 t-shirt.
But the human and ecological effects of Fast Fashion have been catastrophic for our planet and many of its people. That’s because we’re buying an eye-popping five times as much clothing as we did in 1980. And why wouldn’t we? In 1990, the average price of a basic t-shirt in today’s dollar was around $38. Today it’s just over $14.
There’s a high cost for these low prices. To get a $14 tee, someone had to be paid a lot less than a living wage. It’s math and it’s not complicated. In fact, that $14 tee probably earned the garment worker in a country like Bangladesh twelve cents, according to a study by Macleans Canada.
In other words, for every hundred dollars you spend on clothing, less than a dollar goes to the human being who worked really hard to make it.
And apparel is well-documented as one of the most environmentally demanding industries in the world – so buying five times as much is obviously a big burden on our planet.
Films like The True Cost have started raising awareness of an apparel industry that many consumers erroneously believe was cleaned up when Kathy Lee Gifford discovered the sweatshops being used to make her clothing line in the 1990’s.
But things may be slowly changing. More and more of you are telling us you’re growing tired of Fast Fashion and the herd mentality that it perpetuates. That you’re seeking quality over quantity. And fashion that lasts longer than a Netflix binge.
We hear you and we welcome you with open arms. Our remedy is a fully evolved sort of fashion that is different from start to finish.
It usually starts with pure organic Pima cotton from a family farm on the coastal plains of Ica, Peru – hands down among the finest, softest, strongest cotton on earth. And longest lasting.
Most of our fabrics are pre-washed at the fabric stage (not the garment stage). This time-consuming step is not common in the industry, but it insures that not only are styles pre-shrunk, they will also avoid much of the puckering that can happen around the seams with repeated washes where sewing threads shrink at different rates than the fabric. Pima cotton also resists pilling, wash after wash. Many of our customers report that they’ve owned the same tee or dress for years and it still looks like new.
Then there’s the people side of things. We work with a bustling family business that provides clean work, fair pay, and hope to hundreds of employees and cooperative owners around Peru. Wife and husband team Elsa and Javier of Lima walk the talk of fair trade. Employees and coop owners and their children are truly like family and are treated as such.
The final remedy to Fast Fashion is what we like to call “Forever in Fashion.” Style that transcends the slavish fashion world, colors of the year, and the latest Must Have This or That. (Must have says who?) Styles that will look as great today as they will a few years from now. And that will wash and wear long enough to prove it. Landfills take note.
So farewell, Fast Fashion. It’s time for something slower, more meaningful, and satisfying. A long-term relationship with our clothes.