The standards that many of our clothes are made in is enough to make all of us vow in on a no-shopping year, or at least encourage us to shop ethically. There are so many things that are happening behind the scenes of our favourite fast-fashion labels; child slavery, poor conditions for workers and getting paid peanuts for a hard weeks work.
In an ideal world we would all only shop ethically and only head into stores and shop labels and boycott any brand that did not score an A+ on the Baptist World Aid ethical fashion report. Of course, this is a move many of us will eventually make but for now, there is another way to shop ethically – outfit hire.
Hiring clothes used to be reserved for balls and costumes for dress up parties, now, it is a regular weekend occurrence.
We spoke to Chelsea White the lady behind White Wardrobe who has been renting clothes since April 2016.
By renting a garment, girls are able keep up with the latest trends whilst boycotting the consequences of the fast-fashion industry.
It started small when White realised she had so many ball dresses and race day outfits sitting in her closet gathering dust.” I had worn these garments once or twice and was most likely never going to wear them again – such a waste!”
She began renting a few pieces through mutual friends and Facebook to make some extra money whilst studying. The demand was huge and White admits she was was surprised. After setting up a website and Instagram page, she is hiring out dresses and playsuits for birthdays, races, balls and a special Saturday night.
Few people step back to understand the consequences of the fast-fashion model. The fast fashion industry is concentrated solely on making profits. This means that human rights and environmental concerns are put aside to satisfy the impulse of assuming capital.
Of course it is a great way to make money and help people dress to impress, but more importantly for White it is away to fight fast-fashion.
“Many of us are guilty of buying inexpensive, on-trend garments just so we can be seen wearing something ‘new’ at a social gathering. We buy that $30 skirt that’s going to look so good with tonight’s outfit because, why not? But few people step back to understand the consequences of the fast-fashion model. The fast fashion industry is concentrated solely on making profits. This means that human rights and environmental concerns are put aside to satisfy the impulse of assuming capital.
By renting a garment, girls are able keep up with the latest trends whilst boycotting the consequences of the fast-fashion industry. When a garment is rented, no extra labour is being used. Renting is a small but important step in combatting the unethical working conditions that many labourers in third world countries face. Moreover, no extra material is used to make a new garment. This is so important in the age of Facebook and Instagram, where people don’t want to be seen wearing the same outfit twice. Renting helps reduce this waste and is ultimately more sustainable.
Clothing brands ship production of their garments to third world countries where labour is cheap. Low wages, child labour and unsafe conditions are all excused because of the much needed jobs they create for people with no alternatives. Because of the constant threat that corporations will move production to other low cost countries, the government disregards safety measures and holds down wages. Trade unions have little to no say. Multi national corporations do not officially employ the workers or own the factories, so they remain free of responsibility from slave labour and factory disasters. The whole industry is a nightmare for the garment workers who are trapped inside of it.
Fast-fashion also has worrying affects on the environment. Instead of having two seasons per year, stores like H&M and Zara have 50 to 100 micro seasons. As we continue to buy more and more clothes, the industry is having huge impacts on the environment. Environmental impacts range from chemicals used to produce fabrics and the use of synthetic fibres.”
Do yourself and others a favour and consider renting!
Image Credits: Instgaram / White Wardrobe