The Lives Behind the Clothes

The Lives Behind the Clothes

Hey Gals! This week the girls at Aline wanted to share why shopping local and secondhand makes a real difference, especially for women, around the world. We also want to express our gratitude to each of our customers and share stories of the lives they are affecting by consigning and continuing to shop preloved. This is a subject everyone should be well versed on because not only does it impact our environment, but it makes a difference in lives all over the world. 

Let me introduce Bithi, a 15-year-old girl sent to work at a garment factory in Bangladesh when she was just 12. Her mother sent her to work when she was so young because, “there was no food, not even rice. I cry when I remember those days. I thought it’s better for us to die than not have food.” Bithi’s family was in extreme poverty and her father was sick, so she had no choice but to work to help ends meet. Bithi works to make 480 pairs of designer jeans for just $1.07 a day. This small wage helps her family of 8 -who all live in one room together- survive. She says that of all the factories she could work at, this one is a good one. Bithi was injured on the job once. She ‘misplaced’ her finger when a sewing machine needle stabbed her, but since her boss is kind, he gave the rest of the day off to ‘heal.’ Her boss realizes that they are not paid enough, and that conditions are not satisfactory, but there is not much he can do about it as there are no labor laws in Bangladesh.

Fast fashion has been the cause of these low wages and child employees. With the need for speed in fashion trends, they train children to essentially be robots, slaving away in a crammed factory. The constant overturn of styles has led clothing companies to adopt cheaper prices, leading to the need for cheaper costs of production, from which exploitation arises. Most apparel companies prey on the fact that they can import goods from poverty-stricken countries with loose labor laws, and pay those workers little so they can make immense profits. Women working in the fast fashion industry amount to eighty percent of the employees. Not only is it robbing young women of a chance at an education it steals mothers away from homes. When asked what Bithi sees in her future she described how seeing other girls going to school makes her heart feel like it's breaking. Bithi had dreams once of going to be a doctor, but due to her circumstances, she has given up on that. Now her only dream is “standing on my own two feet.” 

On a more positive note, shopping for secondhand and preloved clothing has the potential to benefit more than just you. Some of the benefits of the secondhand clothing industry include: reducing carbon emissions and saving water by alleviating the necessity for new garment production, as well as reducing waste from unsold fast fashion fads and discarded garments. A study done by the Nordic Council of Ministers showed that exporting used textiles and materials has a net savings of 190,000 tons of CO2 and reduces water consumption by 70 million cubic meters. The World Trade Organization regulated textile imports which changed the global textile trade. This decision made it difficult for textile producers to compete with China’s cheap textile production, causing an increase in demand for second hand clothing markets. 

Not only are you giving clothing another life and keeping it from being landfilled or incinerated by shopping secondhand, but you are also benefiting the lives around you. Shopping preloved helps protect the Earth from water and CO2 pollution, as well as save critical resources. If everyone in the world took the initiative to reduce carbon emissions, we could live in a flourishing world as opposed to one in danger of the threats of climate change. From the girls at Aline, we thank all of our customers for making a difference not only for your community and our local business, but for participating in a culture for making change for good! 

To read more about Bithi’s story click the link below!

To bring attention to this issue, and help change a life of someone click the link below! 

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