To be Alaskan means you have one hand in environmental issues, and the other in industry, a delicate balance that puts us in a unique situation to be world leaders in sustainability. And we are, we have a seat at the table. One mission I've always held in terms of the store, is to carry brands and clothes that come from environmental friendly practices. Not all brands are created equal, so it generates an added challenge to source brands that care.
Currently, it's estimated that there are more people living in forced work situations in the Northwest Region of China producing fast fashion than there were people living in internment camps during the Holocaust. It's a horrendous issue that is constantly choked down and swept under the rug. Not to mention the amount of environmental degradation happening at an alarming rate. Dyes, textile waste, chemicals used for distressing, are drained right into rivers and streams that flow through the rest of the country where farmers continuously tap into for irrigation, and yes, finding their way into food. Not to mention the outflow of these chemicals draining into sensitive ocean and coral habitats.
For consumers, it's hard to say no to a price we've all become comfortable with over the last several decades as fashion has moved from custom and tailored pieces to ready-to-wear styles. This is mix of cultural conditioning and a boom and bust industry that pushed us to believe in an unsustainable ideology that condemns both the manufacture workers and the Earth. Fast fashion has consumed us, and we must fight to break out of that mold and be more intentional towards what we wear and put on our bodies.
Like many of you, 2020 has pushed my personal boundaries to explore new ways to be better. To lead us into a superior and more thoughtful way of shopping. I sometimes feel hypocritical for having a retail store in the first place, and then that thought is quickly replaced by, if I don't do it, who will?! So here I find myself thinking of ways to be one step ahead. With that said, I have decided to raise the bar once more, to carry brands that specifically cater to ethical production. And, to also create a pre-owned option, because let's be honest, at this point there are more pairs of jeans on this planet than there are people. We have reached our capacity, and now it is time to use what has already been made. Or, to only purchase items that are good for everyone and everything.
What are your thoughts on sustainable fashion? Is fashion dead? How do we move forward?