Yes, I am one of those people always on the hunt for great bargains for my little girls, but lately, my awareness has risen of the concerns related to those cheap baby clothes. Cheap baby clothes are often crafted in the fast fashion industry, and unfortunately, the ethical standards for both workers and the environment are a significant concern.
Sometimes it is hard to face the truth, and opening your eyes for it can be quite confronting indeed. In this case, we are looking at how baby clothes can be that of cheap.
Becoming more aware of where these cheap clothes come from can make a swift mindset about these specific products or brands.
A lot of time people are not aware of what is going on behind the scene of, in this case, the cute cheap baby clothes we can purchase in the shops.
Gaining some more insight could potentially chance your opinion about some brands, and perhaps you will change your customer behaviour in the future.
Cheap is excellent, but what do we buy when we buy cheap baby clothes? And what are the alternatives? And could we potentially influence the current concerns we seen in the fast fashion industry?
What is a fast fashion?
Fast fashion is a term used by fashion retailers for designs that blossom from the catwalk and get captured at high speed in current fashion trends. Fast fashion clothing items are based on the latest fashion trends.
Fast fashion has mainly the goal to produce garments for the lowest possible price with the most significant potential profit. The main goal is making a quick buck. The clothing is made as fast and cheap as possible, and as you can expect, it is not the highest quality. Other than that the quality is not excellent; unfortunately, the ethical standards and environmental responsibility leave a lot of room for improvement.
In the fast fashion industry, making a quick buck is the primary goal, so corners are cut to meet this profit-making goal. Some of the details we often can see in the fast fashion industry are:
5 Concerns about fast fashion baby clothes
- Poorly paid wages for the workers
- Dangerous work situations for workers
- No right for workers such as maternity leave or sick leave
- Poor quality fabrics
- low-quality baby clothes
- Environmental not so friendly for various reasons
How are the work conditions for fast fashion workers?
It is quite confronting to learn where you fast fashion trendy t-shirt probably comes from. Most of the fast-fashion clothing items are made in Asia, in countries such as China, Bangladesh and India to call a few. This is the work conditions an average fast fashion industry worker is like:
- Extended working hours– The workers are working in the fast fashion industry work seven days a week, 14-16 hours a week. That is 96 hours a week.
- Minimum wage- The paid salary is 1/5 of the money workers can decently live from.
- No, leave– Workers are having no rights for maternity leave or sick leave and have no choice to refuse overwork in the busy season, or they will likely lose their job.
- Dangerous work conditions- Workers are often working in workplaces with no ventilation and breathing in toxic substances, and fibre dust and the buildings can be very unsafe. In Dhaka, there were 1134 fashion workers killed in 2013 in a significant incident, and this is unfortunately not the only incident what has happened in the fast fashion industry.
- Abuse– It is not uncommon that Fast fashion workers are facing verbal and physical abuse when they are not able to reach their daily goals.
As you can read, the list of working conditions is unacceptable for anybody to work. Brands giving these people the jobs may have the thoughts they are doing them a favour to provide a job as they would otherwise not have one, but in reality, these people don’t have a choice than take the job and obey to the moderns slavery as this conditions are called as well.
Another big concern in the industry is that child slavery is widespread as well, and 189 million children are forced to work. So very, very sad to know that cheap fashion has this happening behind the seine. And it is an issue not easy to solve.
How does fast fashion affect the environment?
Fast fashion items are made as cheap as possible and therefore, as expected are low-quality products. Fast fashion items are not prepared to last but instead want to sell people buying cheap garments or are trending and after the purchase, they want you back in the shop to purchase other items.
Many of those clothing items sold as fast fashion garments are thrown out after quite a short time ending up in landfill after quite a short life spend.
On the factory side, there are significant issues with the pollution of the waterways. The textile industries are serving the fast fashion industry, causing significant water pollution worldwide. The textile industry is the second biggest pollution industry globally as far as the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) consider.
How can we make more sustainable choices?
Fast fashion wants us to run to the shop often to buy the newest fashion trends, and unfortunately, their garment sold are often low quality and not in our wardrobe for a long time. Realy has to be a change in mindset to break these trends to buy new clothes that often. Instead, more durable long, lively clothing is a way better option. Some other things we could do to make more sustainable choices:
- Making clothes repairing services more accessible and attractive to use going the current garment we already have in our wardrobe would be a highly sustainable choice. This reduces the amount of clothing you need.
- Another sustainable choice is upcycling clothing items. Give items you already own a facelift of some sort so you can keep wearing them for a more extended period.
- Another more sustainable choice we can make is purchasing or selling used (baby clothes). Buying or selling second-hand items have already become quite popular while our environmental issues have become more aware across society.
- Choose to buy certified Organic and more sustainable brands who sell high-quality baby clothes which last for several siblings or is suitable to sell as a pre-loved item.
- Organic and sustainable brands often have a transparent manufacturing chain and high ethical standards you can review. They often used eco-friendly dyes for their garments which have significant benefits for our environment and our health.
- Buying locally-made products is a great way to be more sustainable and support people living in your local area. You know you pay a fair price for a locally made product, and you would often receive a higher quality product.
Conclusion about cheap baby clothes
The fast fashion industry producing these trendy cheap baby clothes are quite concerning. The fashion industry tries to inspire us to buy new fashionable clothes regularly. As the garments are low quality, they are not lasting for a more extended period, so we are back in the shop soon they repurchase the newest fashion items.
The frequency we purchase new garments is high, and many of these items end up in the landfill. It is also not a pretty picture if you look behind the seine and research the ethical standards of the brands selling this fast fashion (baby) clothes with a super cheap price label.
If you see the pricing, it does make you think, how in the world can the price be this low? Somebody indeed has to pay the fee for this and the workers making these garments most definitely do and living in very concerning lifestyles with low quality of life.
The fast fashion industry is a strain on the environment, but it is quite complicated and significant to resolve. Awareness of the problem will hopefully create improvement over time, whatever this may be.
Even recycling clothing in high volume would still be a strain and high ballasting for our environment. Keep must be consuming less to start with and look at what we need and potentially repair and upcycle more where we can. If we buy clothing items, being more considered to purchase higher quilty items with more extended longevity will be a more sustainable choice.
Also, used baby clothes are a great sustainable choice, and mostly organic baby clothes last for a long time and are often still in an excellent condition when purchased as a pre-loved item.
A significant step forwards would be swift in a mindset where fashion trends don’t manipulate people to get into the shops so regularly to buy more clothes, let try to consume less and focus on being more sustainable all together for a real win. I know it may sounds easier said than done, but we all can make perhaps a baby step in the right direction.