Tag: slave labor

Labor Day Sales – How Fashion Bloggers Are Supporting Slave Labor & How We Can Stop It

Labor Day sales started a week ago even though Labor Day isn’t until tomorrow, Monday, September 1st. This day is huge for retailers and the bloggers that influence people like you to buy from those retailers. My inbox filled up with sale reminders from blogger platforms. I signed up for these platforms years ago when I first started blogging. These platforms give me access to affiliate links, resources to help me figure out what sells best and which items I should promote to get more sales. If you don’t already know, I get a small commission for every product sold via my blog. I never really paid much attention to these sale reminders because I never felt the need to push a plethora of items onto you all. I don’t like selling needless items. I like providing value and showing you helpful things/products. 

Don’t Fall Into The Labor Day Sales Trap

After seeing the film The True Cost this year, I decided to take a more minimalist approach to my wardrobe, for ethical reasons. I started closing my affiliate accounts and taking my name off blogger platform lists, newsletters, and pr lists. I didn’t want to clutter my wardrobe and home with more stuff and I don’t want to tell you to buy things you don’t need. These retailers are literal experts at making you think A) you need all these things they’re selling; B) the more you buy, the more you save; and C) you’re losing money if you’re not buying their products. Click here to listen to my podcast episode where I cover how to shop more consciously, sustainably, and with intention. 

It’s An Influencer’s Job to Sell You Things

This is always something that bothered me about blogging. I’d see (and still do) many bloggers cramming as many products into a post as possible in order to get you to buy more. Everyday there’s an entirely new outfit complete with new shoes and accessories. It’s not about style anymore. Maybe it was a first, but as the blogging industry grew and retailers noticed how much trust readers placed in their favorite influencers, they harnessed that buying power. It’s an old model with a modern delivery.

We tell our readers, via social media/blog posts, to buy the brand’s products and they pay us a commission. The more outfits/items we push on our readers, the more money we’ll make. That’s why you used to see a blogger/influencer post 1 outfit a day, maybe 2 sometimes, but in the last year it’s really ramped up. Influencers started taking to posting videos in order to showcase more outfits per post. I’m sure you’ve seen those short video clips where an influencer changes into 5 or 6 outfits in just 30 seconds flat. Then the description will show a link to buy the dozens of items seen in the video. This has been very lucrative for some bloggers, some of which rake in an average of $600,000 per year. Can you see how a blogger would be incentivized to create and endorse more looks/products?

 

“Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.” —Vivienne Westwood, fashion designer 

 

Are Your Labor Day Sale Items Supporting Slave Labor? 

Cheap Garments = Cheap Labor = Human Exploitation 

Gap sweatshop raided in India found children as young as eight working there (left). Gap embroidered shirt (right).

Big shopping days like Labor Day, are massive earning days for influencers. If you’re following any fashion bloggers you’ve probably already seen a few Labor Day Sale “Must Haves” posts. You are made to think you need these items and you’ll be saving loads of money by purchasing from these curated lists. Millions of you buy into those posts, but what you won’t see are the many massive negative effects of this type of consumerism. These blogger sales lists are typically full of items made in unethical shops where workers are exploited. You can recognize those items by their price point and their country of origin. If a garment was made in Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Sri Lank, or China, it could very well be a product of slave labor. 

Forever 21 Labor Day Sale Ad 2019- $5 Tops are Unethical and Unsustainable
Forever 21 Labor Day Sale Ad 2019

There is no way to ethically and sustainably produce and sell a shirt, or any garment, for $5. Purchasing items at such a low cost means someone else is paying the true cost in the form of forced labor. There have been recent reports of H&M still using child labor. Additionally, hundreds of workers from both GAP and H&M have reported daily abuse. For more in-depth coverage on the topics of cheap garments, cheap labor, human exploitation, unsustainable production, toxic chemicals produced by the fashion industry, and more, see my IGTV video which you can watch by clicking here. 

It’s a very common practice among bloggers to buy massive amounts of cheap clothing from fast fashion retailers like Forever21, FashionNova, Shein, H&M, Zara, TopShop, Amazon, to name a few, in order to create as many outfits as possible. Typically bloggers market their cheap finds as “budget-friendly” or “dupes”. They may think the’re doing their readers a favor, I thought I was when I did this, but they’re not. We have the power to decide what kind of conditions these exploited workers will have. If we stop buying fast fashion, they’ll stop making it. If we demand more ethically made clothing, brands will have to pay workers more and provide them with better working conditions. It’s my responsibility as a blogger to share this with you all and it’s our collective responsibility to shop more conciously and ethically. 

 

“The customer has to know they are in charge. If they don’t like it and don’t buy it, we don’t have jobs.” – Stella McCartney

 

Are Your Labor Day Sale Items Supporting Animal Cruelty? 

Then there’s the animal exploitation aspect. Most bloggers use a lot animal materials in their outfits. There is nothing chic about using animal products in your wardrobe. There are many faux versions of these materials now. Here are some of the most commonly used animal materials. 

Leather: used for shoes belts, bags, jackets, coats, accessories, etc.

Wool: used for coats, sweaters, tops, pants, blankets, socks, gloves, jackets, hats, rugs, shoe linings, coat linings, dresses, shawls, pillows, handbags, etc.

Feathers: used for dresses, skirts, coats, jackets, accessories, jewelry, handbags, pillows, duvets, etc.

Fur: used for coats, jackets, shoe linings, coat linings, fake eyelashes, accessories, rugs, pillows, home decor items, etc.

Silk: used for shirts, dresses, jackets, coats, pants, accessories, shoes, home decor, etc.

The methods used in producing these items are horrific. If you haven’t seen how fur is produced, take a look at this 60 second video (warning: it’s explicit). Click here to watch on Youtube.

How can you spot the difference between faux fur/leather and real fur/leather? Click here for my post on how to tell if your clothes and shoes are vegan. 

Most (I assume) fashion bloggers don’t know about the cruel and horrific ways animals are tortured and killed for their skins and fur. I certainly didn’t know up until 2 years ago when I went vegan. But once I learned, it was obvious that eliminating animal products from my wardrobe was the right thing to do. If you agree with that using animals is cruel and unnecessary, send this post to your favorite fashion/style blogger and tell them to stop using animal products. 

Are Your Labor Day Sale Items Supporting Environmental Degradation?

The best thing you can do to avoid buying unethical, unsustainable, anti-animal friendly items during Labor Day Sales is to not buy anything at all. If there’s an item you truly need, consider the following options. 

Repair

Instead of throwing out your freshly ripped tee or jeans, consider taking it to an alterations shop to have it repaired. These types of repairs only cost a few dollars. You can also fix ripped jeans yourself by adding a fun and decorative patch in matter of minutes with just an iron, no sewing required. 

Recycle

Consider recylcing your unwanted clothing into new items. Old jeans can be turned into shorts. A hole can ruin a shirt but if you choose to add more holes it becomes a cool new distressed tee. You can also remove sleeves off a shirt and now you have a new shirt, I’ve done this with ruffle sleeve shirts. Conversely, you can add sleeves to a sleeveless shirt to create a whole new look. 

Swap

Instead of buying new items, consider having a swap party with friends, family, neighboors, or all of the above. You can swap unwanted items for new items to freshen up your wardrobe or even household goods. 

Thrift

Thrift stores are a great way to shop sustainably. When you buy new items, you create a demand for more new items which means more resources will be used to create those items. Shopping thrifted does not create a demand for more new items, in this way we save resources and directly stop funding forced labor. If thrift store options are limited in your area, consider thrift shopping online. Click here to read my post on the top 5 places to thrift online. 

Cheap Garments = Unsustainable Production Methods = Toxic Chemicals Dumped into Our Environment

Cheap Garments = Poor Fit = Short Garment Lifespan = Garments Quickly End Up In Landfill

Cheap Garments = Poor Quality = Item Warps/Fades/Rips = Garments Quickly End Up In Landfill

Buy Ethically Made/ Sustainably Sourced

If you really need to buy something new, look for an ethically & sustainably made option. Websites like DoneGood.co can help you source great options. You can shop from catergories like Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Eco-Friendly, Made in the USA, Recycled/Upcycled and more.