Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thrift Town: Ethical Shopping

I love a good thrift store, and Thrift Town (on Stockton) is a good thrift store. Today I found this wonderful skirt for $1.99, i really love the mix of vintage style floral prints. The shirt is a Crossroads find, $10.

I'm trying more and more to only buy my clothes second hand, which allows me to avoid supporting an unethical garment industry. If you're unfamiliar with the way we get our cheap clothes in the states you can watch this long but informative video entitled the story of stuff.
Here are some facts about clothing made in China from The War on Want:
    •    In 2007, migrant workers constituted 46.5% of China's urban workforce.
    •    Migrants working in the city earn on average 30% less than members of the local workforce.
    •    Of the 11,000 mining and construction workers who died in 2005, roughly 75% were migrants.
    •    Often hired without a written contract, migrants work twice as long as local-based laborers.
    •    Fewer than one in 10 migrant workers receive a pension or health insurance, compared to the national average of 70%.

There are companies out there trying to do right by their workers, but some corporations don't even know what the working conditions are like in the factories where their clothes are made. In this BBC article a representative from Zara (a European clothing company) traveled to Bangladesh to investigate claims the factories they use were exploiting workers. Sure enough, to his disgust and dismay he found the clothes they sold in swanky European and American shopping districts were being assembled in dirty, old, overcrowded, unsafe factories. This representative gave the factory owner an ultimatum, which resulted in improved modernized working conditions.
But the bottom line is we don't always know what goes into making a single garment.
I can't afford to shop at American Apparel 100% of the time, but by buying from Thift Town I can bypass big business and score cute, quality clothes for less than the cost of a Starbucks mocha.
I don't mean to get preachy. I just love saving money and I'm realizing more and more than often the cheaper option is more sustainable.


TheHeatherGirl said...

Terrific! This has inspired me to go through local directories and find all of the secondhand shops in my area and then shop. My sisters often participate in clothing swaps at church.

Forevermelody said...

Thrifty Town is a chain, so maybe there's on close to you.

Laura W. said...

I love Thrift Town. We go to the one in Carmichael. We basically live a hop, skip and a jump away from what's called "Thrift Town Row" (a stretch of Fair Oaks Blvd. in Carimchael). I get most of my clothes from Thrift Town and Ross. Not a fan of Crossroads, though.


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