We recently had the privilege of hosting a screening of the True Cost in the Ivywild gym. The film delves into the truth behind the fast fashion industry. It reveals many dangerous and unjust labor practices involved in clothing production and the heartbreaking ramifications this has on the lives of people we never otherwise see. In addition this film brings to light the disastrous effect fast fashion is having on our environment, producing huge amounts of waste and polluting our water, air and soil.
We were joined by a panel of incredible women with a passion for fighting the fast fashion industry from three local, ethical and sustainable businesses and organizations: Stephanie Yu founder of Wilder Bag Co., Tina Schwaner from Frayla Boutique, and Liz Kettle from Textiles West. Some of our favorite quotes from the evening are below. We hope you have a chance to see the film for yourself. In the meantime, spend some time discovering and supporting the amazing conscious fashion boutiques in your area!
“I think the more you are in those spaces, especially fast fashion stores, it’s almost bad for your health; the music is pumping, everyone's rushing and there’s just this anxiety that you don’t have enough, that you are not enough, that you need this piece of clothing to be good enough. And that’s even translated into my business and it’s something that I constantly have to reassess. What am I sourcing? Why am I sourcing this? Do I feel like like I’m building a business from scarcity? Or am I building a business around products that people will buy and use for a very long time? So it all comes back to sustainability which really comes back to loving ourselves and each other and this earth. Because I think that if we did that it wouldn’t feel like we have to satiate this hunger. That’s what consumerism is -- whether it’s drugs, alcohol, food, or clothing -- anything can be hunger and satiation based. I really just try to slow down and have enough products in my shop where I feel like it’s a different range for everybody but not to be like “Am I enough? Is my shop enough?”
-Stephanie Yu, founder of Wilder Bag Co
“Textiles West started to continue the education of textile arts because it’s being lost in its own way. It’s not being taught in school so people don’t really understand. We realized as we started talking with our members that not only is it lost on how to make a shirt, but where does the wool come from? People don’t understand what it takes to make a shirt because they don’t know how to make a shirt. And that’s one of our underlying reasons for teaching all of these classes -- so you can understand that you can’t make a shirt in 5 minutes -- it’s going to take you all day. Maybe a T shirt you could do in a couple of hours but it’s still going to take a long time. So that has become the overarching meaning for our organization, it is about educating people on sustainability in textiles so that we can share the knowledge we have about what it takes to produce these things.”
- Liz Kettle, Textiles West
“I would say my [slow fashion awakening] moment was just gaining knowledge. I’ve had the boutique for about five years and it was not responsible when it started. I didn’t know, I learned as I went. I read an amazing article about conscious fashion and I realized I had five or six of these products in my shop already. Once I realized there was a need for a platform for socially responsible fashion I decided to go all in and we went to 100% impactful so that everything we carry is either made in the USA or gives back in one way or another. Knowledge is so powerful. It doesn't mean that because you didn’t know before you can’t change how you move forward.”
-Tina Schwaner, founder of Frayla Boutique
“We need jobs, and we need a way to put our children in school.” This statement, spoken by internally displaced Ugandans, resonated with Yobel co-Founder, Sarah Ray.
If these strong, resilient, hardworking, motivated individuals had access to dignified work, they would be able to provide many things for themselves that charity would seek to do for them. Things like school fees, clean water, nutritious foods, secure housing, clothing, and transportation. Jobs sounded like a good way forward.
As consumers, we have power and we must use it wisely. United States citizens will purportedly spend $1 trillion this year on Christmas gifts. That is $1 trillion votes cast for the kind of world we want to live in. Let’s vote together for a world that prioritizes People and Planet so we ALL Profit!