Have you ever thought – when almost everything else is getting expensive, why are the clothes getting cheaper? The 3 factors that contribute to this are cheap labour, cheap materials and huge volume. Let’s talk about each of these in detail.
The Dhaka fire in 2012 and the Rana Plaza incident in 2013 forced all of us to open our eyes to the poor working conditions of the labour. Employees usually work on small wages, with little or no ventilation, inhaling fibre dust, breathing in toxic substances in unsafe buildings. Child labour is common in such factories. On top of it, these workers regularly face physical and verbal abuse where when they don’t meet their daily targets, they are insulted and denied a break. No factory owner wants to provide for health insurance, better working conditions or decent infrastructure.
The push to make clothes cheaper led to the usage of cheap materials like polyester. It is energy-intensive and doesn’t bio-degrade. Every time you wash polyester, it releases millions of microplastic particles that reach the ocean. 10%* of the world’s carbon footprint comes from the apparel industry. Not just the fabric, even trims and accessories like zippers and buttons of inferior quality are used. Most people feel justified to throw away the whole garment on losing a button or a broken zipper.
The whole fashion industry has created a fear of missing out (FOMO). Most people want to be on par with the runway. The styles change every season, so people buy through the year. Three years it is skinny jeans, and suddenly it is the boot-cut jeans. This has created a vicious circle of purchasing and discarding. Why do we need to follow the runway? Have we forgotten that clothing was meant to be need-based, personal and comfortable? Do we want to contribute to this dark side of the apparel industry?
At the core of The August Co. is mindfulness. We are mindful of what we make, our garments are designed to be timeless, made of good quality non-plastic fabrics and trims/accessories, and are stitched well to last a lifetime. Our production team is paid well, given health insurance and sits at in the same well-ventilated, sun-lit office as our design team. We are mindful of our daily practices, make only 1 collection of about 25 garments every 2 months and we produce on order. These are our steps to move away from the world of fast fashion. What about you?