The True Cost of Clothes worker

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14 Comments

  1. Good morning,
    Thank you for the informative articles. One thing that blows my mind is that these unethical working conditions are illegal in the U.S.; however, it is legal for U.S. citizens to participate in and perpetuate these unethical practices in other countries. We have different standards for our U.S. citizens in our country than in other countries. It’s shameful. All for dollars. In the end, what will matter is were we ethical people – were we kind, did we respect life, did we honor our word. Do no harm – what a great motto to genuinely live by.
    It must take so much time to do all the research you do. Thank you for all of your efforts and these well-composed articles.
    Kind regards,
    Dana

  2. This article was so important for me to read just now. I’m a recent vegan and making lots of other changes in my life and yet, it just wasn’t in the forefront of my mind to seriously examine the clothing I buy (other than it not being made from animal products). I feel lost however. I truly cannot afford to buy $400 coats and all of these expensive, but truly cruelty free brands every few months for my ever growing toddler, y’know? We’re planning a trip home to California soon (I’m an American living in Denmark) and I’m planning on some outlet shopping at least for my daughter. I just- almost don’t know where to start. Because agreeing 100% with a philosophy and practice and putting it into practical action are two different things, y’know?
    Anyway, would love some more guidance and thanks so much for the article!

    1. Hi Lindsay, thanks for sharing. I completely understand where you’re coming from. One service that I heard of for parents with babies and toddlers is one that offers a monthly subscription and they send you quality made garments each month for you to use and then post back once your child grows out of it. They’re not brand new, but because they are well-made pieces (typically high end, fair-trade and organic fabrics that most people couldn’t afford to buy) you receive clothing that will be used over and over again. Can’t remember the name, but maybe look that up online? Second hand is also a great option! Hope that helps 🙂

  3. This is a great article and a topic more people need to be aware of. I watched the true cost a while ago and have been consciously making more ethical choices about what I buy and it’s been an interesting experience.

    When you are committed to only purchasing ethically made products, you realize how difficult they can be to find. At first I found it frustrating that when I needed something I couldn’t just buy the first thing I saw. But then I realized that’s actually wonderful and more like how it should be. Taking the time to find the right garment for your needs that is also in line with your values takes significantly more effort, but why shouldn’t it? The idea that we don’t need to spend time considering our purchases is exactly how we got to this toxic level of consumerism. So now when I spend the time carefully considering a purchase from every level I feel like I’m fighting back against an exploitive system and exercising my purchasing power in a more deliberate way – which is so freeing! I think this concept fits in SO well with both veganism and minimalism. So yeah, anyway, thanks for the great article!

  4. Hi Masa, great article! I dream for a world with more mentality like yours!
    I look after my clothes and it lasts a lot! I have a dress I love from 1997! When I need clothes I usually go to charity shops, if not there, then try new ones… but would like to know if you have a list of reliable brands and/or a list of banned brands. Thank you very much!

  5. Thank you for the post Masa.
    It is really eye opening to see just how disturbing the fashion industry is. As if all of the points you have brought up weren’t enough, there is still the question of what happens to clothes after they are disposed of. Most clothes, because they are blended with synthetic fibers, cannot be recycled or decompose. Even clothes that are donated to thrift stores, if they do not sell, are thrown away. They will go to a landfill and take thousands of years to fully decompose, or be incinerated while releasing their toxic chemicals into the air and ground.

    After reading Michael’s post about wearing the same clothes every day, I decided to try it. I wear the same colored light grey organic cotton t-shirts and jeans without a leather tag. I was worried people might think I never changed my clothes, but so far no one has noticed. If we commit to a single wardrobe or at least a few favorites we wear all the time, we would appreciate the clothes we have and reduce the suffering to make them.

    1. Thanks for adding and sharing Dominic. Yes, I think it’s about 20% of all donated clothes that gets sold and the rest ends up going to landfill. So the mentality of donating to charity and it going to a good home is causing a lot of issues in itself. People have to be more mindful of what they buy in the first place.

      Glad to hear you’re testing it out. Michael would be happy to hear that it’s working for you, fewer decisions to be made is always a great thing 🙂

  6. Hi and thanks for this article. I do try to look for organic cotton, however, many clothes now are made from man made materials. Can you help me to understand which different fabrics are the most sustainable? Thanks.