Out of the worlds 7.4 billion people, there are 40 million workers in the garment industry. It won’t shock you to know that being most of them are being exploited and are considered to be in forced labour which is modern day slavery. These garment workers are typically the most vulnerable in their communities, woman, children, migrants. They get paid far less than what is fair, in working conditions which are unsafe, without unions or governments to protect their rights. Desperate for work, they continue so that we get the finished item for less.
These facts paint a dire picture, one that once revealed for what it is, makes it very hard to participate in being a consumer in the same capacity. Not just because of the labour standards, but the environmental. Especially the amount of goods being created. Big companies literally cannot sell all of their stock. Some brands have been caught burning goods, others cutting it up. Some get donated, but the amount of textile waste is becoming so problematic that countries that once resold our imported secondhand clothing like Rwanda and Haiti have stopped incoming goods because they are at capacity and it is destroying their once thriving garment industry. This confronts the amount that we consume, and poses the question, ‘do we need this much stuff?’.