In 2013 a factory in Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1,134 people and injuring 2,500. A girl had to saw her own arm off in order to get out alive. There were previously signs of structural damage; however, the owner forced the workers to come in, threatening them with the possibility of losing their jobs. Most of these workers were women, acting as the main providers for their families.
You can probably tell this introduction is much different than my typical light-hearted intros; I do this because I want everyone to know how important your individual decisions are, especially when choosing where you shop. These people lost their lives and their ability to provide for their children due to a factory trying to meet its quota for stores like H&M, Gucci, Walmart, Primark, Mango, and the Children’s Place. On top of this horrific disaster, these factories also produce thousands of pounds of pollution and waste, negatively impacting our environment. Like you, I too invest my money into stores such as these, however with more awareness of the impact these large corporations have on others and our world, I am actively trying to avoid spending my money on their products.
This is where thrifting comes in. We all know and love Goodwill, however if you are trying to replace clothes that you would purchase from the stores listed above, you probably aren’t trying to sift through Goodwill to try to find one nice work top. There are so many other options, specifically consignment stores and online sellers. By doing this instead of heading to Goodwill, you are supporting locals around you who are also trying to invest into the community while also helping people in other parts of the world.
My friend Gabrielle started her own business, Good Stuff and Co, dedicated to reselling clothes and handmade jewelry. In true entrepreneur fashion, she does the dirty work of finding the clothes people were going to just take to Goodwill and she sees the beauty in them, posting the pieces aesthetically on her Instagram feed and selling them to the public. These days, we call this sustainable fashion. Gabrielle enlightened me on the importance of this, saying “There’s a huge amount of waste happening everyday with fast fashion. GoodStuffAndCo. supports the importance of sustainable fashion by selling a unique curated collection of second hand threads and handmade jewelry.”
I’m saying all this not to lecture you but to show you how your small changes can make actual differences; I know, so cliché. But it’s true! I encourage all of us, including me, next time we go in to shop at these mass market stores to think about the woman who died while trying to provide for her child, or the one who cut off her own arm in order to still be able to take care of her weak grandmother. Instead, let’s seek out those around us who are actively making a difference while also being entrepreneurs themselves. I encourage you to check out Gabrielle’s instagram, @goodstuffandco and use the discount code “URBANFLEUR” to get 20% off your next order.