This week, we want to shed a light on just how important that ‘Made in…’ label that we see on clothes and accessories is. Most of the time, we see a label that states ‘made in Cambodia’ or ‘made in Bangladesh’ and so on, and we forget to acknowledge the complex and interwoven supply chain that includes much more than just the final stage of production. When we buy online, supply chains can become even harder to trace, and we have even less of an idea of where our clothes are actually made. But they’re usually cheap, so it’s easy to throw them away without feeling any guilt at all. The truth is, that the cheap price tag comes at a real high price for someone, somewhere in the world.
When buying locally, although it is more expensive, you’re generally doing something that’s better for the environment, but an item of clothing has many stages of production.
From the origins of the raw materials, to the dyes used, it’s extremely rare to find these materials to be grown, processed, sewn and sold all in one location. In order to make sure you’re buying something ‘locally made’, we all need to be prepared to ask retailers not just where the clothes are made, but where all those extras come from (like sequins, paillettes, buttons etc) and if they will biodegrade or not. To make things a little bit easier, there’s certification schemes like the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) that are a great starting point for ensuring that items of clothing have not been dyed with anything toxic, for brands and for consumers alike.
Buying locally can make it easier for certain brands to produce “made to order” goods. This means they can simply stop production of items that aren’t selling very well, solving the common problem of deadstock and extra produce ending up in landfill.
Buying locally made clothes has the added bonus of increasing accountability. In many poorer countries, producers and garment workers face exploitative conditions that result in human rights violations such as excessive hours, forced overtime, lack of job security, sexual harassment, and discrimination. Producing in more developed countries takes brands and companies to a new level of accountability, as news such as exploitation will not go unnoticed as they have (unfortunately) been going on in other parts of the world.
When clothing and accessories are made locally, in most cases, it means that the fabrics used have not been produced by harming animals. This is dependent on the local animal welfare legislation: World Animal Protection provides a useful index of many countries and the standards they uphold (or don’t) so that we know what labels we should really be avoiding!
Choosing to buy local can really be a good choice and have many benefits on an environmental, animal and humanitarian level. It means more accountability and traceability for brands and helps support local businesses. Of course, there’s a lot of brands prone to greenwashing through their marketing campaigns, so it’s important we all do our research the right way.
There is no perfect solution. However, avoiding fast fashion, buying fewer, quality and second hand pieces is guaranteed to help shape a better future for all people, the planet, and animals.
At Cherchez La Femme, our mission is to produce our products only once your order it’s complete and even though that might take a bit longer than your fast fashion ‘next day delivery’, we can be sure that we won’t be harming the environment.
Cherchez La Femme team X
Info sourced on goodonyou.eco
Images sourced on canva.com