The following post has been written by a guest contributor/author - Kirsten Kirby
Imagine your hands being cut and bruised day after day. Imagine the muscles in your arms, shoulders, and back being so fatigued that you can barely put your clothes on each morning or hug your loved ones. For hours every day, you aren’t allowed to eat, go to the bathroom, or even move from one spot. You are trapped in an endless cycle of constant pain, with no end in sight.
Does this sound like a torture scene in a horror movie? The reality is that this is the daily life of the people who harvest the cotton, the people who sew the clothing, the people you never see or think about when you buy that cute top that costs $10. Many of them are women and children and their bodies will be forever damaged by the damage inflicted by every garment they make. This is the physical brutality of fast fashion and it should not be ignored.
In their post, The True Cost of Fast Fashion, the Fair Trade Foundation described the consequences of fast fashion on workers: “They can’t afford to pay for essentials for their families like medicine when they are ill, school fees for their children and even food...In the textile factories, some workers do not earn enough in a month to pay for one of the garments that they are producing. They are forced to work in unbearable conditions in order to meet the demands for disposable discount fashion.”
What can you do and how can you help?
Become informed - Take the time to learn about why fast fashion is so devastating. Read about the Human Rights Watch’s Campaign for Transparency in the Apparel Industry, Global Labor Justice and Green America’s work to combat fast fashion, and other articles on the topic.
Show your priorities through your purchases - Companies have little incentive to change their labor practices unless consumers stop buying items and demand changes.
Volunteer with an organization dedicated to fighting fast fashion
The next time you browse a rack of clothing and your hands brush against the soft fabric, picture the rough, torn up hands of the people who made it. Your choice to continue buying garments that were not produced in factories that provide fair wages for their employees and care about their health has a human toll. Choose to show that you care about the people behind your clothes and by doing so, become a small piece of the movement to end fast fashion.