Let’s celebrate the changes we do make
Anyone that knows me knows I have more than a few opinions about the exploitation of workers, especially in the fashion industry. I’ll annoy people asking them if they’ve watched the “True Cost,” or read the latest expose on H&M. “Have you heard that they’re employing child refugees in Turkey?” I’ll show them statistics on climate change and the amount of waste the clothing industry creates. I’ll go into detail about the sexual exploitation that women, just like you, face due to those companies’ hold on communities halfway across the world.
It can be exhausting, especially if you were really excited about that new dress that you got on sale for five dollars.
However, I’m here to say, it’s okay to be exhausted, and, what’s more, it’s okay to not want to feel guilty. That dress is really cute, and we are college students, after all. It’s hard to pass up that deal.
Beyond that even I, yes, Morgan Barclay, the queen of thrift shops, the capsule wardrobe fanatic, the annoying friend, buy clothes unsustainably every once and while. Whether it be because I need a new pair of jeans and none at the thrift store fit, I need fitted blazer for that interview I didn’t know was happening, or I simply need new underwear and don’t want to spend thirty dollars on pair that wasn’t made by slaves, even I buy clothes from fast fashion retailers.
This shouldn’t be a fact held in shame. I shouldn’t have to hold my breath before admitting that someone who struggles to find clothes that fit regularly has to buy clothes at fast fashion retailers. I shouldn’t be ashamed to admit that, as someone that doesn’t have a full time job, I can’t afford to shop at stores like Everlane, Reformation or Patagonia.
However, this often seems the case when people enter circles like these. Whether you talk to vegetarians and vegan crowd, the zero waste circle or some other do-gooder, it can seem like these lifestyles are all or nothing. It seems like I should be ashamed for enjoying that five dollar dress.
Whether this is the case for the whole crowd or a few loud portions, it gets to you, and it’s often the critique I face when I talk about issues like these. I can’t buy everything sustainably, people think, so why try? Beyond this, why even care, if all it is going to do is bring me guilt.
I’m asking us to change that mindset. As a community we need to do more than condemning people for existing in an unsustainable system. We need to reward ourselves for the times when we do stand up to that system.
That’s why this new year my resolution is to say hooray for half measures. The road to a better world doesn’t have to be built in one day and it can’t be built in one day. But, if we make a choice and continue to make that choice, suddenly it becomes routine, and you’ll find you can’t think of how you lived your life before.
I, for one, can’t imagine going into anything other than a thrift store for a big comfy sweater.
~Morgan Barclay, Editor-in-Chief~