WHY I CHANGE FAST FASHION FOR ETHICAL, SUSTAINABLE AND FAIR TRADE FASHION?
For those of you who doesn’t know me, I’m Jackelin Ccorahua, Peruvian designer and fashion lover, and this post is to tell you about how and why I change fast fashion to ethical fashion.
Few years ago I started little by little see fashion in a different way. It all started with a trip to Peru with my love, I took him to discover my country with a backpack, and we start our road trip through Peru and all we saw, impacted us I different ways, it was the beginning of this story and we were left with the idea of returning one day but although this idea burns deep in our hearts, life goes and another opportunities appears on another countries.
Barcelona’s blue sky
Time passes and we move from Europe to China.
After being living for more than 8 years in a row in Europe, we moved to China to the province of Hunan where it is very hot in summer and very cold in winter, so I started looking for lighter clothes and natural materials such as linen, Cotton, and wool for winter, I began to pay more attention to labels and materials. On the other hand I was surprised that fast fashion brands were more expensive in China. (Why are they more expensive in China if they are manufactured there?
Well, at the end I always ended up buying in some of the fast fashion stores because they were cheaper and they look trendy. Although I always end up complaining about the poor quality, (they say that the cheap is expensive and that is true!) Many of those clothes were no longer valid for the following season and / or were badly stitched and those made of acrylic wool, after washing start appearing pimples, so we ended up buying every month.
In one of my trips back to Peru I started making my shirts and dresses in pima cotton, so every time I returned to Lima my sister sew them for me, although something I was always surprised by, the fact that buying the fabrics were more expensive than buying a new one.
So, I started asking myself the question: how could they be so cheap in fast fashion stores?
We started to become awareness about pollution.
At the same time the pollution that we saw in Changsha, made us value and miss the blue sky of Europe, every morning before leaving home we looked at our app to see the level of pollution in the air and if we should leave with a mask or not, it became a daily habit, sometimes you just didn’t even need to see the app, because only by breathing the air felt charged. We currently live in Hanoi and here too there are many days that you can feel and see the air polluted very strong.
Here the skin of my face has been the most affected with pimples and allergies, a visit to the dermatologist and she confirmed my doubts the pollution was beginning to feel on my skin. Now I am aware of the results of the pollution in my own skin.
I worked for an NGO and learned how fashion can be an agent of change for communities.
I grew up surrounded by folklore and the colors of my culture, after studying design in Barcelona I could not wait to go back to Peru and learn more about Peruvian textiles. Although it was not until August of last year that I enlisted to do a volunteer in Cusco with the NGO Cetro de textiles Tradicionales del Cusco and it was really there where all change, I was immersed in the Peruvian Textile world, and I was left more in love than ever (also I didn’t know that I already had it on my genes, my father never told me before that my grandpa had also been a weaver and he traveled all over Peru selling his weavings.)
El Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco, works to keep alive the millenarian art of traditional textiles, there artisans weavers create unique pieces made with this millennial method of waist loom and the money they get helps them to support their families in addition to keeping alive this tradition that was almost getting lost in time.
My job consisted in developing together with the artisans a collection that would later be sold and that would generate income for these communities and it will improve their quality of life. In this case, fashion helps to improve their quality of life, generating extra income that allows them to live I better conditions and continue rescuing the millennial textile tradition so that it is not lost.
I started to investigate and found out the documentary “the true Cost” and it opened my mind.
I start googling about pollution, fast fashion and its impact on the world, I find out how fast fashion and the way we consume are polluting our environment, and why and how some clothes endeed up being so cheap, (If you search the fast fashion on internet you will see all the documentaries). I was impressed with all the information there is and even today many of us (and I included myself) do not know how these garments are made and who really pay the price for doing them.
For example you knew that fashion is the 2nd most polluting industry, you knew that workers in underdeveloped cities are considered as the slaves of the 21st century (because they are poorly paid), and that some even make children work.
I asked myself: Would you buy these garments if they were marked that were made by them and in those conditions of exploitation?
and my resounding answer is NO! I would not buy them.
For me as a fashionista, fashion lover, designer and human being, it is outrageous and I can not conceive in my mind that a garment, however beautiful it may be, brings so much misery behind.
But the solution is on us the consumers, because we finally are the ones who have the responsibility of this impact.
I Made my decision to change my consumption habits and contribute to ethical fashion and fair trade fashion.
Going from fast fashion to ethical and sustainable fashion has not been something overnight, it has been a long road and a decision I have made based on my personal experiences.
As fashion consumers we can opt for a more sustainable consumption, such as: slowfashion brands, fair trade products, handcrafted products, which are made in an ethical, sustainable way and / or re using second hand garments, these are some of the options We have to consume fashion in a more ethical and sustainable way.
I just think that it is essential to be informed of what is happening in the world of fast fashion and who pays the price and then everyone can make their own conclusions and make their own decisions.
I want to invite you just to check it out by yourself, at least be aware and know that there is an alternative to fast fashion, also be aware that as consumers we can make big brands to change for a more sustainable and ethical productions.
Ask your favourite fast fashion brands #whomademyclothes
Join me and follow my fashion adventure around Hanoi on my IG @jackelinccorahua