It can be hard to treat yourself to things in a world which seems unable to handle it. Global warming, world hunger, war and oppression are all world issues which seem to be aggravated by events and capitalist spending in the west. Does that mean there’s nothing we can do? Of course it doesn’t. There are plenty of ethical brands out there.
Saving the world isn’t about acts of huge, impressive courage; it’s about the small things that each of us do. It’s about what happens when millions of people do small things. Fashion is one such element of our lives that can have a huge effect on the world outside of us. A huge process goes into making and transporting everything you wear, even if you don’t consider yourself hugely into fashion.
The key is to consume less, first of all. But what do you do when you need new clothes? How can you help others by simply buying a new shirt or a pair of jeans?
You can support other countries economically.
It’s easy to think that the best way to help suffering countries is by throwing money or goods at the problem until it goes away. However, as with any economic or resource crisis, money does nothing, because it only has the value we give it. The way to help poorer countries, then, is to help them get up on their own two feet. We must increase our trade links, rather than provide aid.
If you really want to help save the world, conduct a little research into the places from which you’re really buying your clothes. Check where the money is going, and then think about whether you’re helping the right kind of company through your trade.
Invest in companies with wholesome values.
It can be hard to trust a cold corporate face in a world which seems very different on the surface to how it is beneath. Of course, you might find that you’re being a little too cynical some of the time. Not everybody is an evil businessman looking to destroy the world for mass profit.
You, as the consumer, have all the power. If you buy clothes sparingly, rather than consuming more and more, then you’re already doing a huge amount by reducing your consumption. Of course, when you need new clothes or you fancy a treat, think carefully about the company from whom you’re buying. Some products and brands are better than others. Accessories such as click belts are sleek and stylish, and you have some peace of mind with certain companies, because their intentions are actually good; many are striving to end poverty and world hunger through the sale of their goods.
Talk about it with others.
Preaching and shouting, as shown by recent political events, never does any good for supporters of any view; whether that perspective is racist or all-loving. The best way to help save the world through fashion is to talk about it with others. Don’t talk at people – talk with them. Don’t force it, either. You might be wearing an inspirational t-shirt and the conversation picks up from there.
It’s not about “converting” people. It’s about telling others why you make the choices you make, and perhaps hoping that you can then learn things from your friends about ways to make better consumer choices. There are also some very intriguing sustainable and ethical fashion products out there, so you might find it fun to broaden your clothing horizons.