“I went to Bangladesh in 2009 with Lucy Siegle and for the first time in my life I saw the impact of what I was wearing was having miles away from me. It was like having someone throw a bucket of iced water on you.
When you get back you can’t pretend it is ‘business as usual’. It’s the same when you witness an accident on the other side of the street, you run and offer your help. But how far away does that accident have to happen for you not to care anymore, for it not to be your business anymore? Today, as Lucy puts it, ‘brands, retailers and consumers have all become fantastically adept at divorcing fashion from the very fact that it is been made by an army of living, breathing, human beings with resources which are depleting the environment’.”
“Over the past two decades fashion has changed thanks to this new phenomenon called “fast fashion” and now we have a situation where, as consumers, we are caught in an absurd circle of micro trends. Think about it. Around two mini seasons a week in stores. Disposable clothes that stay in a woman’s closet for an average of just five weeks, before being thrown out – all in the name of the democratization of fashion.
“Disposable clothes that stay in a woman’s closet for an average of just five weeks, before being thrown out – all in the name of the democratization of fashion.”
In reality, this evil machine is exploiting everyone and everything: the consumer, the planet’s resources and the people who produce them. Each year across the world, 1.5 billion garments are sewn by an estimated 40 million people, working in 250,000 factories. These are predominantly made in countries described by the UN as the world’s least developed. All in all, the garment and textile industry is estimated to be worth some $3 trillion. And the bulk of that goes into the pockets of the owners of those fast fashion brands.”
“When production is outsourced to poor countries, they are enslaved by an addiction to the idea of enrichment. That is when corporations start driving production costs down with volume. Like any good pusher, they offer their potential clients a great deal, only to get them addicted. Once they’ve succeeded, they’re in the driving seat. In the case of poor economies, they addict them to the idea of lifting their people out of poverty. In fact, they’re like the big bad wolf, lying in wait for the dependency to start. And their citizens get enslaved in the same machine. At the same time, they operate as distributors and addict consumers to the idea of always faster, ever cheaper fashion, despite the human and environmental cost. It’s the old problem. Out of sight, out of mind. It happens far away so we don’t see it.”
“We grew up in the “fast fashion generation”. We had closets overflowing with clothing, but a feeling that we had nothing to wear. We were exhausted by it all. So we began to look at the tags and try to figure out just exactly what our clothing was, which led us to also ask who was responsible for making all of it. After digging into it we saw this whole system that had been created just to get us to buy, buy, buy without any thought. “ MAXINE BÉDAT
“There has been a radical change in how we consume clothing. We consume 400% more clothing than we did even 20 years ago. At the same time we’re spending less money than ever on the most clothing we’ve ever had. This has been done by fast fashion companies cutting corners, using cheap material, constructing a cheap product, and using cheap labor.”
“Slow Fashion is an approach to design, production and consumption that focuses on the highest quality material, an understanding of the environment, timeless design and creating a product that the consumer can feel great wearing for years to come.”
“As a consumer you have enormous power. When you make a purchase you are taking a stand, making a vote for what you believe in. We have the power to make fast fashion just a momentary blip in fashion history. That to me is incredibly exciting.”
“Fair trade is like a sheltered space away from the rain,” Joseph says. “Working with fair trade buyers like Noonday Collection has empowered us to bring in better prices for our products and has created many opportunities for us. As members of the WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization), we have learned the importance of being open and having transparent communication with our partners.”
Noonday Collection Artisan Partner
Lanh is a perfect example of a strong female entrepreneur using her gifts to create opportunity for others. When she saw a problem in her community, she didn’t let the obstacles get in her way. Instead, she harnessed the strengths that already existed within her community to create incredible opportunities for her friends and neighbors – and she’s not slowing down anytime soon.
“As our business gets bigger, we wish to develop more jobs for young people in our village and in other villages where they do not have a traditional skill,” Lanh says proudly. “All the people in my family have practiced this horn carving craft. We are so thankful that we have this traditional job and we love teaching the young people of our village to carry this craft on too.”’
Noonday Collection Artisan Partner