Before reading this book, all my concernes with the mass-production fashion industry have been from the environmental point of view. The amount of low-quality throw-away clothes had started to cause me ulcers.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not judge the customers of these shops. At least not the ones that are somewhat responsible and sensible in their consuming habits. Young people don’t have a very big budget and cheap clothing is very tempting.
A chunk of my own wardrobe also comes from these stores. Like I said, the low prices are tempting for people with small budgets. But every time a piece of clothing “breaks down” after a few wears, I wonder – why even produce something like that? Is money really the only thing the leaders of these big companies value? When I think of it I see images of cartoonish characters with dollar signs in their eyes.
Now, back to the book. The first few chapters of the book are about the abuse of workforce behind these clothes – the sweatshops. It has opened my eyes to a totally new side of the fashion industry. Yes, I had heard of the sweatshops before. But I was naively optimistic and kind of thought these times are over. Who can still keep this up now, in the age of information? But appearantly they still exist and the problem seems to be bigger than ever.
I have set a little challenge for myself. Until now, being tired of low quality clothing, I have only looked at the materials a piece of clothing I am about to purchase is made of. And have tried to assess if it would last a few years of wearing-washing. From now on I will look deeper into the background of every new piece of clothing and maybe also do some research on the ones I already have in my closet.
Lucy Siegle’s book is a must-read for everyone. She is curious about the backstage of the fashion industry and explains it well to the readers. Thank you, Lucy.