Be aware of the global impact of fashion

Bailey Dingley, Campus Carrier guest contributor

I am a firm believer that your dollar is your vote. Where you put your money is what you are supporting. If you want to see more diverse representation in movies, go see those inclusive movies in theaters opening weekend. The better the box office does, the more likely those movies with representation will be produced. As consumers, it is crucial to make sure we put our money where our mouths are. We may talk a big talk about helping the environment and human rights, but our money does not always reflect those beliefs. 

One of the best ways to help the environment and advocate for human rights is through clothes shopping. Being more aware of where we are buying our clothes is vital. Companies that are “fast fashion” produce very cheap clothing, in cost and in material. The clothing gets to us quickly, but in the process , factories produce a lot waste and pollution and abuse human rights. 

The fashion industry is the second largest polluter of clean water globally. The cheap textile production creates huge stress on the environment and the communities that are involved in the production process. Because the clothes are cheap and not made to last, this also creates a lot of waste from consumers. We wear a shirt once, then throw it away because there is a hole in it. 

Furthermore, fast fashion creates dangerous working environments for factory employees and textile workers. There are toxic chemicals in the material that endanger the textile workers. Many of the factory employees are underpaid, especially women. 

With all this in mind, there are ways to make an impact with our own dollar. It helps to thrift shop rather than shopping at fast fashion places like H&M and Forever 21. There are more ethical companies as well, and sites like Good On You can help determine how ethical a company is. The documentary “The True Cost,” which can be found on Amazon Prime, is an excellent documentary about the clothing industry as well and can provide a wider view of the industry as well. So, on top of our reusable straws, we can make a decision, as consumers, to help the environment and human rights through sustainable shopping. 

But these decisions are a lot easier said than done. If you have watched Season 3 of “The Good Place,” you know that the comedy presents some interesting ethical questions about life today. As the characters are discussing Good Place admission qualifications, they realize how much ethics have changed in our modern world. Our decisions today are so much more complicated than they used to be. I say all this because I know that being ethical consumers is hard. We are college students; we cannot always afford to shop sustainably. But as Eleanor says in “The Good Place,” we can try. I encourage everyone to thank more about what we consume and how we can help others through these decisions. 

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