Today is Blog Action Day and Passion Lilie has joined the 100+ bloggers throughout the world to promote and support human friendly fashion. Today I am posting an artilce on my blog about how the price of fashion has changed throughout the years at the expense of the livelihood of other human beings. Please read on...
One day, as I was visiting my dad’s house, I found a Sears catalog from 1978. I borrowed it looking for inspiration form my next line. On the first page was an open weave, knit sweater and a blazer made from polyester and cotton. I looked over at the price and I was surprised to see the sweater was $20 and the blazer was $45. That just didn’t make sense to me.
And now, 35 years later, Sears has close to the same prices – in many cases these garments are even cheaper. The question now is, how does Sears (along with all the other mega-manufacturers) keep prices so low?
Then: Images from Sears Catalog 1978
Today: Images from Sears Online Website 2013
Consider this -that 1978 blazer was made in the United States and those workers were most likely making a living wage. The United States didn’t have many “Made in China” apparel items in 1978. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, textile, apparel and manufacturing jobs in the US have declined from 2.4 million in 1973 to 650,000 in 2005 due to import competition and technology improvements.
Today it is very difficult to go to a large retailer and find a product that is made in a way that we would call ethical or human friendly. Global outsourcing has made it much easier for companies big and small to find the cheapest manufacturers possible, with no regard to the long-term effect those decisions have on the economy or the workers who are being exploited. This is what has made American mass-market fashion so cheap. Just think, most people would rather throw out a stained t-shirt rather than try to clean it.
My 92- year-old grandmother, said when she was young she got two dresses a season for less than $10 a piece and she made about $1 per hour. Well, if you do the math, a person would have to work about 10 hours for one dress. Let’s say a young person today works 10 hours at $15, that is $150, which would allow a person to buy two ethically made dresses at Passion Lilie.
Fashion has now become too cheap, at the expense of people’s lives – in China, in Bangladesh, and even in the US. Do we need or even wear all the garments in our closet? I personally believe in having a small collection of ethically- made, versatile fashions that provide living wages for those who are in most need. There is nothing better than telling someone a unique story of where your outfit came from. We should not be ashamed of our clothing. We have the power to decide what we buy, so let’s support those working toward a better world!