Can we defend the “Black Lives Matter” movement and regularly buy fast fashion?
I don’t think so.
If one wishes to make one’s actions consistent with one’s opinions, it seems obvious to me that any person protesting against the past slavery of black people which lead to the systemic racism in the US, must also rise up against the neo economic slavery that underlies fast fashion brands.
The enslavement of Afro-Americans founded the economic system of the plantations of the southern states. The neo-slavery of low-paid workers working in deplorable and even dangerous conditions today is the basis of the entire economic system of fast fashion brands.
Why is the price of fast fashion products so ridiculous? Basically because the worker is not rightly paid. And never lose sight of the fact that the brand’s margin must be important, otherwise the system would not prosper so well.
What can we do?
Buy less. Get out of the loop of overconsumption. Sorry, I’m going to be a little ironic, but it almost hurts for you when I see the same little Zara jacket three times in the same day on the street. And it happens a lot, believe me.
Buy differently. There are many alternatives: whether it’s pure vintage or second-hand clothing, you are giving a second life to a product that is already on the market. You don’t even have to buy, you can rent. You don’t even have to move from your couch, there are some great apps.
Buy consciously. Look at the labels (and not just in fast fashion stores). Reject what is produced in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, India or Bangladesh since these countries are known to flout human rights and workers’ rights with it.
And beyond all: empathy. Who would like to see their child working in deplorable conditions for a pittance? Voilà, you have the answer.
I’ll be honest, I have a unique piece from H&M. Spotted on Vestiaire Collective, it was an Erdem x H&M collaboration and I looked at it every single day for three months before buying it. Because the label said “Made in China” and I felt guilty. So of course, nobody’s perfect but we can still work on it.
For the moment, let me introduce to you this amazing outfit from the early 50’s, found at Marcel et Jeannette in the Parisian Flea Market.
Vintage Dior skirt found at Marcel et Jeannette, Flea Market – Vintage cardigan and bibi hat found at Marcel et Jeannette, Flea Market – Armani heels – François Pinton sunglasses