Posted on April 02 2021
“Regardless of what your background is, we can all agree on some really basic things—no one should die to make a T-shirt, and we shouldn’t be pouring toxins into our planet.” – Whitney Bauk
The clothing industry has a huge impact on our environment, our planet and ultimately our people. Historically, fashion brands would release new collections a few times per year. Fast forward to the last fifty years or so and we find new collections being released every week. This is known as ‘fast fashion’. Cheap, mass produced clothes, designed to align itself with the latest ‘trend’. Since we know trends come and go, these garments are sold at cheap prices, seldom worn and tossed to the side, when the new trend drops. This culture cannot and is not sustainable, it exploits workers and depletes the Earth’s natural resources.
Let’s talk more about the workers, specifically in the Xinjiang region of north-western China, where millions of Chinese Uyghurs live, a Muslim minority population. Recently, this part of China has undergone increased scrutiny over the violation of human rights of the Uyghurs which includes forced labour. Evidence shown to the BBC has shown that half of this population is coerced into seasonal cotton picking, which has been called out by the Anti-Slavery International and the World Uyghur Congress. A coalition of human rights groups have suggested that many of the world’s fashions brands and retailers use cotton sourced from this region and it is thought that as many as 1 in 5 cotton products sold worldwide are linked to this ‘tainted’ cotton.
For the six of us, shopping used to be a fun release and we were all about keeping up with trends. However, since reading and educating ourselves on the reality behind fast fashion and the devastation it causes to our planet and people, our eyes have opened. Referring to the quote above and the garment factory collapse in Bangladesh we strongly believe ‘no-one should die to make a t-shirt’.
When starting Sei Sorelle, our modest swimwear brand, one thing we were sure of before anything else, was the creation of a brand that centres around sustainable and ethical production. And so far, on our 6-month brand anniversary, we’re proud to say we have stayed true to our values. We know there are still holes and flaws in our processes, but we’re passionate and eager to learn, build and evolve our baby brand into something even better!
To complete, we need to shift towards a new normal. We shouldn’t need to brand ourselves as ‘sustainable & ethical'. Instead, we need to move towards a future that expects clothing and textiles to be made responsibly. And who has the most power to drive this change I hear you ask? That would be you, the conscious consumer.
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