" There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness." - Mahatma Gandhi
During my pregnancy, which was a heaven sent gift, I was basically forced to slow down. I stumbled upon some amazing documentaries (thank you NETFLIX!) that completely changed my perspective on things and particularly this one so deeply that even my soul cried. With a blushing face, I must confess I'm ashamed that I was previously supporting something that I basically knew nothing about. This document hit me so hard, that I cried my eyes balling out.
THE TRUE COST is a shocking story about fashion and the hidden ugliness beneath the glamour. The fast mass fashion or as we like to call our beloved H&M, Zara, Gap, Topshop, Primark, is the second most polluting industry after oil and energy. It now dumps 80 billion products on us, trying to make us feel inadequate so we buy more of their low quality stuff. The movie explains the life cycle of clothing from the very beginning in the cotton field to where is it made, mostly overseas in developing countries, in some of the horrible conditions in sweatshops and the ways workers (usually women) are treated. It is heartbreaking and unfair and we have to remember that the only thing separating us from other people is the countries we happened to be born into and different circumstances.
Since I saw this movie, I got more and more interested in really finding out ways to be more eco-friendly and learn more about slow fashion, because turning a blind eye is not possible for me anymore.
So how to start?
LESS IS MORE and fuck mindless consumption! Shop less, only buy quality pieces that you absolutely love, invest in quality instead of quantity and get creative and find new ways of shopping. Try SWAP AND SHOP NIGHT MARKET at Reform Social & Grill with a lot of vintage stuff, RIPE MARKET which is a great place for local designers and artisans, or DUBAI FLEA MARKET.
Second, I recommend choosing one issue to focus on first whatever you are most passionate about. People, the planet or animals. Then define your ethical criteria for that issue. For instance if you are passionate about animals, look for cruelty-free, vegan products such as faux fur or vegan leather. If you are interested in human element, opt for fair trade or locally made clothing. If you are eager to protect our planet, choose sustainable materials and minimal waste.
Lastly, I would recommend doing some research upfront to find the brands that match your criteria and your style, because shopping ethically is a lot harder than just going to the mall and picking up some clothes. Also don't forget that green indeed is the new black in marketing. Watch out for brands that claim to be eco but they really aren't. HERE is a website that ranks brands on their performance.
Thankfully!! people are waking up and starting to do more conscious choices and that's why I'm hoping to find more cool ethical stores and reliable brands in Dubai soon. If you're looking for places where ethics meets aesthetics, please check my list of online eco friendly stores below.
Note: Mindless online consumerism is not something I support. I've created this resource for you if you desperately need to freshen up your wardrobe and are looking for quality items that are cruelty-free.
Eco-friendly fashion in Dubai
SPIRITUAL GANGSTER available at YAPPAREL
Sustainable, ethical brands all over the world
Thank you all for making the decision to support ethical, sustainable fashion, let's make a difference!:)