Who Made Your Clothes? – Bird + Stone

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Who Made Your Clothes?

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Girl trying on 'The Future is Female' Necklace looks in mirror

They say the way you dress reflects the way you see yourself. But maybe the way you dress also reflects the way you see others. Ever received an ugly sweater from a relative for Christmas? One of those old school knitted ones you roll your eyes at while quietly murmuring “not again”, only to quickly put on just to keep the peace?

Clothes have value not only because of the way they look, they have value because they represent something: they tell the story from where they came. 

Clothes have value not only because of the way they look, they have value because they represent something: they tell the story from where they came. Objects carry inherent value because they represent a certain amount of labor that went into their creation. One of the greatest vices of fast fashion is that it has divorced product makers from product buyers.

Who made that tank top lying untouched in your closet? Who is behind the tunics, shoes, or dresses scattered across your room? And do we even want to know, or would we rather not know less we feel too much guilt? At the end of the day, the clothes we wear say a lot about whether or not we chose to see the people behind them. 

Worldwide, one out of six people work in the textile and clothing industry. It’s an industry tainted with slave labor, and funnels more money toward modern day slavery than any other industry besides tech.  [1]

 

It’s also an industry filled with discrimination of women. 80% of garment workers are women, and many live in countries where the rule of law isn’t properly enforced, meaning few possibilities to defend themselves against unwanted attention. Outside of the high likelihood for both slavery and abuse, working conditions in this industry are far from optimal, and many work in horrific conditions. It is estimated that 60% of garment workers in India and Bangladesh have experienced harassment or some form of abuse because of their work. [2]

Just like we would care about that ugly sweater gift giver’s feelings, let’s care about all the other fashion products we bring into our wardrobes. But let’s do more than care - let’s take action. In a market economy where the customer is king, we have an incredible opportunity to influence the fashion industry towards sustainability through our purchasing. By adjusting our lifestyles and spending patterns, we can take a stand for the environment and for worker conditions. (We’ll talk more about how to do these things in upcoming posts!)

We also recognize that if we’re asking you to hold the fashion industry to a high standard, as a member of this industry we should expect you to examine our own policies just as intently. As an ethical company that gives back, all of our products are made in the US and we are closely engaged in the manufacturing process of all our products. While keeping production domestic is more expensive for us, it also enables us to be committed to supporting the local economy all the while paying fair wages to factory employees. 

All of our cuffs are made with upcycled brass, as are our custom beads. In all of our processes we keep both the customer and manufacturer in mind, fully believing that being a business that gives back means treating both producer and purchaser with the respect they deserve. 

We’re looking forward to sharing more with you about our brand over the coming months, as well as tips on sustainable shopping more generally. It’s a journey for all of us, and we’re excited to go on it with you.

 

[1] Fashionista

[2] Sustainable Fashion Matterz

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