I never really thought about it a lot. Fast fashion I mean. I always wondered why some fashion items are so expensive, but why some are cheap…? I was just glad that they are. When my son was born my aunt gave me a bunch of her old babies’ clothes- she kept them for more than 20 years!! It was because before, in the 60-70-80 baby clothes were expensive (at least they were here in ex-Yugoslavia). It was normal to collect clothes that your child outgrew and pass them down for younger kids or relatives. I didn`t know how to tell her that I don`t need them. Well you can go to a Lidl store now and find a babies shirt for under 5$…and the price isn`t much higher in H&M or other similar fast fashion brands…
Bits and scraps you read about how fashion is made in third world countries are soon forgotten, buried under everyday chores and activities. There`s even a saying here about cheap clothes- “made by a little child in China”. How can we even say things like that? But is it true? Admit it, it`s not a problem of your every day lives so you really don`t care. But why are those cheap clothes really cheap? Is it because it`s made in big quantities so each item comes cheap in the end, is it the cheap material, or cheap labor? It`s all of the above.

Yes, another gloomy story. But I couldn`t pass over it. I can`t just write about fashion: “oh, such a lovely sweater, oh so comfy… Oh and the view on this lagoon is so breathtaking, and my swim suit looks gorgeous”. Fashion is beautiful, and I do enjoy it. Just think that the fashion business could be better and more moral. Like I said in previous posts I`m not a bunnies runnin` on the field kind of person! So why do we turn our head when we hear about how these same beloved clothes are made?? We don`t care?!?

It`s not just a third world countries problem. Cheap clothes are sewn in Europe too. Maybe their work conditions are a bit better, but I seriously doubt that. Reports on horrible work conditions in Bulgaria pop up in the newspapers. That’s a nit trick- produce something in sewing sweetshops in Bulgaria so you can stick a label “Made in EU”. 14 hour work with no air conditioning or breaks for 129 to 340 eur months’ wages (source: Clean Clothes Campaign). To be fair not only fast fashion brands produce clothes in Bulgaria. But I suppose that it gets worst when you know your clothes are sewn by children. Oh I don`t know what is worst… And then those same workers from India, or China or Bangladesh (let`s say Syria even if they aren`t in no condition to produce clothes) will come to western Europe or U.S.A. in search for better life and work conditions and we will look down on them. We don`t want them here. But the cheap stuff that comes from their countries, well hey we don`t mind that!! Everyone likes a bargain. But the more I look into all of this I think that there is no bargain. No matter how you look at it someone- all of us at end will pay a price for the cheap things we keep buying. Whether it will be in pollution of the environment, political riots, wars, refuges…

Fabric factories used to exist in ex Yugoslavia. My aunts used to work there. It was never an easy or comfortable job. Work conditions were catastrophic. The air was very humid so the cotton skein wouldn’t dry. It almost felt like it`s going to rain. On top of that it was very warm; of course they had no air conditioning. Women were standing on big weaving machines with 30 minutes pause. If they needed to go to the toilet they would have to wait for a replacement. There was no stopping the weaving process, work was done in 4 shifts, every day, all day. Weaving shuttles that were running right and left used to fly out off the machine injuring workers. Tremendous machines never stopping, never caring. Big metal monsters devouring not just the cotton but fingers and whole hands of desperate workers. The women workers were at the bottom of the chain, jelled at and treated like garbage. But people couldn`t complain. It was the only available job they could find. Then Yugoslavia fell and those same machines were sold to Russia, and from there who knows… The weaving never stopped, it just moved to another country, to another unfortunate people who will be exploited, worked `till they can work no more.

When you start to get into the story behind the fashion industry the problems just keep getting bigger and bigger… There is another thing to consider in fast fashion: the false advertise and the false story that they are selling: Organic cotton, recycled clothes, big celebrities that are posted all over their billboards. You think, ok so I won`t get into how those clothes are made, but they are really eco friendly brands. They recycle! You can take your old clothes and they will make new ones out of it!! I really felt for that. When I see a recycle sign in a store my opinion on the brand gets better. Of course that even ecology will be misused to promote more sales. It`s great to recycle, but it`s not ok to mislead people. When you come to think of it- it`s the fast fashion brands that are making the most clothes waste… And the time to recycle those same clothes is shocking! Up to 12 years to recycle just 1,000 ton of clothes (source: Lucy Siegle, The Guardian). H&M7s sales for 2015 were 25 billion $… So you can do the math…

I understand why people can afford clothes of higher quality and price. The gap between poor and the rich just gets bigger. When you look at history from the middle ages to today- existence of the middle class seems like a brief episode. And at best it existed-it exists in just a few countries in the world. And I am not saying to buy more expensive clothes, if anything I`m saying to buy less. Be aware of what you are buying: wear something more, buy ethically produced clothes, or ok this is a wild one- try sewing. Ha-ha sure you think I`ll get home in 6 pm see my kids for 5 min and run sewing… Yes I know, not a great idea. But I had to write it. Or maybe try to have something sewn for you… At least you will know in which conditions it was made and get a chance to play with fashion design! And when you get that urge to buy something on an impulse, you know it goes something like this: “oh come on it`s on sale, ok it`s a horrible color and a funny design, but I can wear it, right?”. But you know you`ll never were it, or you`ll wear it once just to show that it was a great buy. I have a full closet of that kind of clothes, unfortunately… But no more!! So be strong and say no, I won`t buy that! 😉 The stores are all supplying an existing need, they didn`t invent it. They are not forcing us to buy anything. They fawn to our needs and desires.