We would do anything to make our children look their best. While an extreme example, you only have to look at the celebrities that splurge a thousand dollars on a single outfit for their children. And, the reality is that we are generally quite happy to spend a lot of money on clothing for our children as long as they look great.
In 2013, we discovered the terrible news about just how the clothes that we buy were really made. Reuters reported how at least 1,100 people were killed when an eight-storey garment factory in Rana Plaza in Dhaka collapsed, and it was something that people had seen coming. Even after concerns about building safety were raised, factory owners reportedly forced employees to go to work with the threat of termination. Fingers were pointed. When much of the blame fell to the government, points were made (albeit condescendingly) about setting more realistic expectations about what the people in these governments can do. The Economist spoke about how a lot of the responsibility then fell on the shoulders of multinational companies, whose orders had led to the boom in the garment industry in Bangladesh. It appears that their success—and the cheap clothes that we enjoy—were built on the exploitation of workers who have to live on so little while risking so much.
We’ve long been aware of the impact that the clothing industry has on the planet. After all, the industry has been found to be the second largest industrial cause of pollution in the world, second only to the oil industry. But we can also see now the impact that it has on communities, on people very much like you and me. We’re beginning to understand the intricacies of how the industry affects societies both near and far. It can get really complicated, and we find ourselves searching for questions as much as we are searching for answers. Following the tragedy, companies began to come under much more pressure from consumers to adapt ethical practices and be transparent.
GoodOnYou states our shopping choices have a profound impact on how businesses treat people, the planet, and animals. Thus, it’s important we stay informed. When looking for particular items of clothing, even a quick Google search about ethical brands offering certain items can go a long way. If you want to dig deeper, there are even resources such as SEDEX Global and the Ethical Fashion Forum that share information about the brands you should buy from.
Also, be on the lookout for practical options. For example, the ethically-minded children’s clothing brand Tootsa had this simple idea of making clothes with removable sleeves making jumpers and coats ideal for all seasons. They are also made in a way so that the clothes will have a longer lifespan than your average item from high street fashion houses. Creators on websites like Etsy also come up with brilliant and clever items designed with solutions for tiny problems you don’t even know you have.
Children’s clothing is big business. The Guardian discussed the recent boom in the childrenswear industry, stating that it only serves to tell us about how much demand there is for childrenswear labels nowadays. Children will only be children for so long, and we want them to spend their childhood looking their best. Today, in a market that’s so abundant with choices, the only thing left to do is to make a good one.
Exclusively submitted to Mothersguidetosanity