What is sustainability or ethical production? This definition seems to change depending on who you talk to. Personally, I believe that it is a three-part system. People, Planet and Profits all need to be considered in order to be a sustainable business.
Over the next little while I am going to be taking a deeper dive into the different areas that can make or break the sustainability of a product (mainly clothing). I believe it is every persons’ right to know where their material objects are coming from and what effects they have had. Knowledge is power in this fight for slow fashion and until these systems become common knowledge, little change will be made by consumers.
I’m really going to push these three P’s throughout everything I talk about so get ready for it.
When I think about people I think about their health and wellbeing, much as yours and mine. Where would I want to work? How would I want to be treated? What would I want to be exposed to? There is a valid argument for differences in life and culture depending on where a garment is being produced. The daily life of those living in Dhaka, Bangladesh is not the same as mine or yours. What I say to that is though they may seem different, they have the same core needs and wants that you and I do. They still deserve the same level of respect as human beings to live a comfortable, safe and healthy life, whatever that looks like to them.
What are the lasting effects on the planet and ecosystems around the world? This can relate closely to people but also goes beyond that through generations of lasting resources and viability. Are we leaving things worse than how we found them? Will the current systems be able to sustain themselves for hundreds or even thousands of years going forward? Are we contaminating or are we rejuvenating for the benefit or to the detriment of all? I know it feels like a hippie type of concept to think in these terms but think about it, where would we be if we didn’t have our planet and its resources anymore? Also, how long can we feed it poison and tear it down before we as a species will be forced to find new ways of living? The earth itself will regenerate long after we are gone. But how quickly will we burn through what we need to survive and be left with nothing?
In order for any company or society to be successful, they require steady profit. Profit for who you may ask? Right now, there is a considerable imbalance as to where the majority of profit from these systems is landing. Fast Fashion companies are driven solely on their profits to the detriment of both people and planet. Those at the top are gaining exponentially while those that are producing (the people) are barely scraping by. In order to be a sustainable business, profits need to be shared in order to work as a closed loop together to benefit both the people and the planet in EVERY step along the production chain. A person should not be harmed simply for another person’s financial gain. That’s just simple human decency.
“Living is easy with eyes closed”. John really hit the nail on the head with that one. I really do feel this quote describes the average citizen/ consumer in our day and age. What do we know about what we own? The art of construction has been lost on so many fronts. We buy we use we dispose of. How is it that we still don’t understand that what goes up must come back down? Where is our “garbage” going to go? When is enough going to be enough? We are so much like spoiled kids that leave a mess everywhere we go for others to deal with later on. This has got to stop.
This is why I am here. This is my purpose. You need to know the truth and you need to change. I am here to make that an easy and viable option for you as an average person in society. I hope that once you take this journey with me you will no longer see any other option but to change your behaviours for the betterment of everyone and the future.
Until next time...