In the past few years, thanks to documentaries like the True Cost, we’ve seen consumer consciousness focus in on how the fashion industry is affecting human rights. (about freakin’ time!) But somehow, even with a microscope on the industry, we still seem to be bypassing its horrible effect on our environment.
Let’s be honest, we’re all guilty of WEARING CLOTHING. It can be hard to buy clothes that are sustainable and organically sourced, sometimes because they’re costly, other times because they tend to look a bit like a burlap sack (which is totally cool if you’re into that kind of thing ;) ).
Last week I attended a screening of RiverBlue at our local Sitka shop, presented by Sitka and World Vision. This documentary follows Mark Angelo, a Canadian river conservationist, to some of the world’s most damaged waterways. It gives you an inside look at how the fashion industry, mostly denim and leather, are causing irreparable damage to some our waterways and oceans via the harsh chemicals and pollutants we use to wash, dye, treat and tan textiles and garments. Now, if you haven’t watched this *super eye-opening* documentary, I highly suggest you do, especially if you’re one of those people who are guilty of wearing clothing! I won’t go too far into detail here because I highly encourage you to watch it yourself to get a real understanding of these issues. But (as always) I think it’s super important to start discussing what we can do as conscious consumers to avoid buying into these industries that are so severely damaging major waterways, so much so that they can be classified as “ecologically dead”. An example of this is the Ganges, one of the worlds most sacred waterways, where this little boy is taking a quick dip. Yikes.
SO, what can we do??
- Educate yo’self on which brands are sustainable and organic. Seriously, you can never be too educated!
- Support businesses that produce and manufacture locally! You’ll probably be buying directly from the maker, and they will DEFINTELY be able to tell you all about their supply chain.
- Read the tag! If you’re buying any article of clothing, simply read the tag to know what it’s made of. If it has any form of polyester… don’t do it. That shit’s plastic and plastic = harsh chemicals and microfiber shedding.
- Start a conversation. By this I mean be ACTIVE in telling those around you why you choose to shop sustainably, in hopes of starting a conversation about how and where they can do it too. Very worst case, you’ll bore a few, but inspire and educate others to change (see #1.)
- Don’t buy things you don’t need!! How easy of a solution is that? People complain about how sustainable and organic clothing is expensive. Well DUH, it’s expensive for a reason! Odds are, the last time you went shopping, you didn’t need to buy those 5 tops for $50. If you do this every time you go shopping, you’re spending your money unnecessarily, when really you could be budgeting your money and saving it for a time that you REALLY DO need a new top. That way, when you purchase that new top and its sustainable…. WOW will you ever feel good.
I could go on for days and days about what we can do to help turn around the fashion industry to help save our waterways. And of course, the industry itself needs to do a TON of internal work. But as a consumer, you DO have the power to shift the fashion industry away from harmful production practices. Don’t be afraid to be CONSCIOUS and aware of what you are putting on your body, and to ASK the hard questions to your favourite brands and retailers about their products and where they come from. It all starts with us taking a moment to THINK before we make a purchase. It’s that easy!
If you want to rent or purchase RiverBlue check out their website here!!