Are The Clothes You Buy For Cheap Made Ethically?

Fast fashion is no stranger to child labor, sweat shops, and unsustainability, where you are shopping, are you supporting these harsh conditions?

Dhaka%2C+Bangladesh+-+March+2010.%0AGarment+factory+in+Dhaka+Bangladesh+in+the+Mohakhali+area.+%0ADhaka+counts+more+than+4000+factories+producing+for+export+only.%0AThis+factory+produced+garments+for+the+dutch+company+Hans+Textiel.

Dhaka, Bangladesh – March 2010. Garment factory in Dhaka Bangladesh in the Mohakhali area. Dhaka counts more than 4000 factories producing for export only. This factory produced garments for the dutch company Hans Textiel.

Eran Bagwell, Contributor

Most things that are bought in American stores all have the tag “made in china,” or other foreign countries. What allows these brands to create a huge supply for the huge demand of products? Child labor and cheap workers. 

The truth behind production is that the cheaper you can create the product, the more revenue you get, and acquiring cheap workers can help tremendously when building a wealthy company. As of 2016, the minimum wage in $67 dollars each month, which is far less than fair compensation for the labor of these workers, especially in such poor conditions.” (UAB) The poor conditions that are worked in are described: “Work areas are frequently found to have poor lighting, which can be damaging to the workers’ sight, and toxic chemicals, which can be harmful to their respiratory systems.” Many buildings have also collapsed and killed thousands of poor workers.

Americans cannot blame neighboring countries as the culprit either, as there are thousands hiding in poor communities all around America, “It’s not in China, but in America that workers put in grueling 12 hour days, making garments that will be sold for anywhere from $5 to $75 for around three cents apiece paid out. The lofty goal of making what amounts to $5 an hour is in reality a pipe dream for them” (Forbes). The victims of sweatshops are often undocumented immigrants that had extremely slim choices in jobs they could acquire and are abused by the wealthy companies.

How does one buy ethically and cheap? Most people, when they see a “made in America” tag, think that is the answer, but it truly is not. In order to find ethical companies, a quick research can do quite the job. Websites such as ethicalconsumer.org have boycott lists for companies that sell unethical products.

Shopping clean, or even secondhand, is an easy step anyone can make to help the environment and poor workers. Research your brands and shop ethically.