Recently, while creeping on Elizabeth’s blog, I came across a post she did on ethically made clothing. In this post she discusses our cultures obsession with fast fashion and instant gratification. She expresses concern over our societies consumption of items we neither value nor hold on to for any real length of time. It is disposable fashion, cheaply made by underpaid and poorly cared for workers in a sweatshop half the world away.
I had already hastily banged out the first draft of this post when I then encountered a post by Ellie of Thrift Eye, which introduced me to this video…which got me to thinking more about why and where I shop the places I do.
I choose vintage and thrifted items for a lot of reasons. When I was a teenager, just discovering thrifting, I was in it for the price tag. Bang for your buck? You ain’t seen nothin’ till you’ve scoured a thrift store with me. I could go in with my measly tips from my hostessing shifts at a local restaurant and walk out with a whole new wardrobe. And cute shit for my room to boot. But I also loved turning other peoples garbage into gold. I guess it’s a tendency I’ve had since I was a kid, dumpster diving with my brother in the apartment complex my dad lived in to pass the time (gross, I know. I spent a lot of time unsupervised as a child). I found an odd sort of beauty in these discarded items. Birthday cards and thumbed-through magazines, old clothes and children’s toys. They were still, fundamentally, what they had been designed to be. People had just gotten tired of them, and so they were abandoned to a garbage bin, a dumpster, a landfill.
Fortunately, I grew out of the whole garbage picking thing (sort of*) and fell in love with thrift and vintage stores. I think for me it’s the history. There is a certain mystery to a thing that has known a whole lifetime before you. It’s the same sort of feeling I get when I walk through a museum or an old building. There are stories here, imbued in these objects, encapsulated in these things that most people treat so callously.
Perhaps that is sentimental of me. Perhaps a bit materialistic. But in a world where an island of garbage exists in the Pacific Ocean which is believed to be twice the size of Texas…perhaps we should reconsider our policy of “out with the old, in with the new” and have a little more concern and care for the objects we populate our lives with.
I’ll admit, I’ve spent my fair share of change at places like Forever21 and H&M. Urban Outfitters still makes the best fitting jeans I’ve ever worn. But lately, my conscience has been nagging me. It’s not just the environmental impact of our gross over consumption which disturbs me, but also the social implications of an industry which capitalizes off the poorest and most desperate populations in order to produce it’s goods.
And this is true for much more than just our clothing. This sort of shady business exists in everything from the products we use in our home to the food we put in our bodies. I don’t want to be a part of it any more. I don’t want to give my hard earned cash to companies that do terrible things, mistreat their employees, lie to and manipulate their customers and generally contribute more to the worlds ills. I’ve made it a general policy of this blog to only feature independent artists, designers, and craftspeople. All of my wish lists are pretty much exclusively curated from Etsy, and that has been a very intentional choice on my part. I wanted to use whatever limited influence I have to direct people towards spending their money on indie business, to send their hard-earned cash to someone who was working equally as hard as them…not to some wealthy CEO kicking it on a yacht in the South of France while Indonesian children sew together cheap tube tops for their company. That’s not what I believe in, those aren’t the business’s I want to support or condone. I also believe that there is a way to dress fashionably and affordably without having to go through the likes of F21 and H&M, and that investment pieces should be investments because their really effing cool and well made, not just because they have a fancy designer name.
So, I suppose the point of all this pontification is that I want y’all to take a long hard look at your closets, at the places you spend your money and where those dollars go. Do they support local, independent business? Do they go towards pieces you really love and will wear for years to come? Or are you throwing your cash at conglomerates who design and manufacture pieces that are intended to fall apart/fall out of style within six months of purchase. And I want you to ask yourself why? Why buy something that every fifth girl you run into is going to be wearing? Why buy something that is so transient, they didn’t even bother to make it well? Because it’s cheap? Because it’s trendy? Swing by your local thrift store and you’ll realize all that cheaply made 90’s throwback shit they’ve got at F21 is available there for $3.00 and it’s actually from the 90’s.
Allright. Rant over. Here’s a gratuitous booty shot to lighten things up.
:: outfit details ::
white cami :: vintage :: thrifted | denim skirt :: vintage guess usa :: thrifted | shoes :: reef :: thrifted | leather back pack :: vintage :: thrifted | braided leather belt :: vintage :: thrifted