Fight Fast Fashion


The good news is, there is a growing global network of organizations like the Freedom Business Alliance and Dressember, who are working toward a world where all people are free.”

Picture this: you had a tough day at work, you get home, and you think, “I deserve something cute for next weekend!” You don’t want to break the bank, so you scroll through the sites of some of your favorite go-to cheap brands like Forever 21 and Shein. You find some trendy things and think, “So what if it doesn’t fit? It’s only $6 and it’s just for one weekend!” You hit order, feel a little bit of the stress of your rough day melt away with the promise of something fun and affordable, and await the arrival of your package. You feel good about the fact that you got something cute without overspending.

However, this after-work retail therapy has much broader implications than what your bank account looks like afterward and whether you’re on-trend for brunch next weekend.

Fast-fashion brands sell trendy clothing and fashionable items, which are designed and manufactured rapidly and sold to consumers at extremely low prices. The quality of these pieces is very low and thus they are often purchased for only one wear—the antithesis of sustainable fashion practices.

Fast fashion brands are able to sell their products at such a low cost because it is largely made by exploiting garment workers. According to the International Labor Organization, 81% of human trafficking comes in the form of forced labor. This is present in the fast fashion industry, where garment workers are subject to low wages, unsafe working conditions, long work hours, and abusive management. In 2016, over 2 million people were working in factories where cutting corners is encouraged and safety standards are overlooked in favor of greater profit margins. A 2018 study estimated that $127.7 billion worth of garments at risk of having included some aspect of human trafficking in their supply chain are imported to the United States annually.

The good news is that there is a growing global network of organizations, like the Freedom Business Alliance and Dressember, who are working toward a world where all people are free.

Dressember is a global movement utilizing fashion and creativity to combat human trafficking from every angle. Their mission is to equip and empower individuals to advocate for the dignity of all people. Each December, they host a style challenge where people wear a dress or tie for 31 days. Advocates fundraise through the month of December, and since 2013, they’ve collectively raised over $15MM to fight human trafficking around the world across prevention, intervention and survivor empowerment efforts.

Ready to break up with fast fashion? Dressember’s Ethical Fashion Directory offers a curated list of ethical and sustainable brands that empowers rather than exploits their workers. The Ethical Fashion Directory has brands at various price points (and exclusive discount codes!) so you can treat yourself to some retail therapy and feel good while you shop. Several members of the Freedom Business Alliance are featured in the directory. Be sure to check out Outland Denim, Batik Boutique, Aruna, and Starfish.


Want to learn more about Dressember and how you can become a more conscious consumer? Check out Dressember’s blog and join the fight against human trafficking by putting on a dress or tie and becoming a Dressember Advocate. Learn more about how you can be a part of building a world where all are free to live vibrant and autonomous lives on Dressember’s website.

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