Have you watched The True Cost? If you haven’t, do yourself a favour, watch it. Everyone in the Western World, should watch it. It’s an eye-opening documentary about what really happens in the clothing industry, where clothes are made, and how the poor souls that make them, are being treated. Young children, mothers, teenagers are dying because of these hideous environments.
A realisation that, I as a consumer, contribute to these god-awful places / practices. And I am guilty of ‘helping’ the industry by being a consumer, purchasing items, not knowing or questioning, where or how these items are made. Before watching this documentary, I would sometimes make flippant comments, about being made in a sweat shop or kiddy labour, when I have paid a couple of dollars for a pair of socks or knickers at a store. I cringe when I think of how blasé I have been.
I have a child, I can’t imagine him in those conditions, working for a minimum of 10 hours a day, in a filthy, dangerous shop, with no water, or food, earning a shit wage. People die working in these places, because we as consumers want, want, want. We want more for cheaper. We have become a throw-away society. I am guilty of this. And it makes me feel sick.
Unfortunately, unless you have a decent budget to spend on, say clothes, it’s hard for the average consumer to buy ethically produced or fair trade items. And it’s also not so convenient. There’s so few stores selling ethical items, and the main place to get these items is online. The trouble I have with purchasing clothes online, is not being able to try them on.
This all leads me into – purchasing pre-loved items. I live in an area where this is the norm, hardly any chain stores litter our shop fronts and buying vintage or retro, is IN. There’s a ton of shops dedicated to pre-loved clothes, and it’s not just your average Vinnies. It’s become one of my favourite things to do, browsing through these stores, rack after rack of clothes, belts, and bags. I have found amazing bargains, Nobody jeans for $25, a Donna Karan blazer for $30 (this would retail for about $300+). Oh Newtown, you have stolen my heart (and my wallet).
I took my partner into one of my many favourite charity stores, Red Cross, and with my help, she bought a few pairs of jeans, shirts, a waistcoat, jackets, t-shirts, all for about $200. There’s also something satisfying about buying pre-loved items, knowing that you are doing a small bit to change the consumer trend, I am not kidding myself though, it’s not enough. When last did you go into any store, just one store and within an hour, find so many items? I am willing to bet, it’s been rare.
The major difference with this type of shopping is having the time to look through the often crammed railings, looking for that gem (or gems) vs walking into a shopping centre, with so many shops inviting you in with a promise of ‘happiness’, everywhere you look there’s 20 of the same looking t-shirts with 20 of the same looking jeans. It’s conveniently displayed, shop assistants are there at the ready. You don’t have to think too much, and so you just purchase the items. Done.
If you would like to come with me and try out a few of the pre-loved stores in Newtown, get in touch and hopefully I can find you that gem. But be prepared, you might leave empty handed, it can often be down to luck. It makes it all the more exciting, well, for me anyway…