Why you should be anti-fast fashion if you're anti-racist

If you’re new to the zero waste realm and don’t know anything about fast fashion, be sure to check out this video or this post first.

If you want to watch the video version of this post, click here:

A little storytime. If you’ve been on the internet in the last two months, you’ll have noticed a rise in people “taking sides” in racial matters. Which is fine, but what’s not okay is claiming to be anti-racist but still supporting racist companies.

There, I said it.

I have seen so many people posting quotes and photos, then a few hours or days later posting their haul from Zaful or their new make-up from L’Oreal or all the things they’ve ordered from Amazon or the cheaply made BLM shirt. These companies all have one or more things in common: they use and support fast fashion techniques or they are hypocritical of the BLM movement.

I will be talking about greenwashing in a later video in which companies are hypocritical about their environmental standards. The same goes for companies and race. Companies that have been very racists in the past are now speaking up. I’m not saying that companies and people can’t change their mind, I strongly believe you can. But, similar to greenwashing, you need to be cognizant of what they are SAYING and what they are DOING. Sure, they might say they’re anti-racist, but have they fired black people for speaking up? Do they hire white people over black people? Do they make make-up for all skin tones? Do they pay every employee fairly or do they discriminate pay based on gender and race? Ask these questions and hold them accountable.

Are they doing it out of the generosity of their own hearts or for publicity? It’s hard to tell, sure, but do some digging before your support them with your money again, especially if you, too claim to be anti-racist. Yes, people can have a change of heart and learn new information, but think about why they are now acting differently. To truly be kind or to make money?

Should it take the publicized death of a black man to make people change their ethics? I’m not perfect and I didn’t speak up that often before learning more about racism, but my ethics have always been the same. Trying to profit off of a social issue, whether that be COVID or anti-racism is wrong, no matter how you may be trying to profit.

Not only this but really look at the company structure. Yes, they might truly believe in BLM, but do they show it. Do they have black CEOs? Do they have black spokespersons? Do they have a relatively equal workforce between whites and non-whites?

For example, Amazon sees about 60% of warehouse and delivery workers being POC, though only 8% of their managers in the US are black compared to about 60% of managers being white. Same with Nike who sees only 43% of a white workforce, but three-quarters of their VPs are white. Other companies see similar demographics as well so do your digging.

Not only this but watch out for fast fashion giants. Racism isn’t just against the black community, but all races unlike your own. Fast-fashion giants like Zara, H&M, Shein, and more use sweatshops. They hire the cheapest labor, work their employee’s overtime with no pay, they work in hazardous conditions. This takes place in China, India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam just to name a few. Supporting these companies is supporting their racism towards people in these Asian nations. Again, if you are just hearing about this for the first time, I highly recommend you check out my video about fast fashion and I will leave some other sustainable and ethical fashion influencers linked below.

Basically these brands are exploiting other people of color, particularly located in Asia. They are underpaid, work in hazardous conditions, are overworked, often live in hazardous conditions, and don’t get treated fairly either. And for what? So someone in the US or another wealthy nation can have a t-shirt that says “BLM” or something else “anti-racist.”

Granted, I’m sure most people don’t know where their clothes are made…but why? Do you genuinely not know or are you ignorant of the truth for “fear” of having to quit shopping the brands you normally shop? In my opinion, if you are anti-racist, you need to be anti-racist for all races, not just black targeted racism.

I’m not going to tell you which brands to support and which ones not to support. That is your ethical and moral call for yourself. I just hope you do some research the next time you go to the mall or Amazon. Think about who made that product. Whose life is literally being compromised for my style? Fast fashion comes at an expense and we need to quit turning a blind eye for our $5 t-shirt.

Racism is everywhere. It is not just a derogatory name or exclusion, it goes much farther than that. It is ingrained in our societies all throughout the world and the fashion industry is no exception. Fast fashion has been reliant on the exploitation of garment workers, 80% of which are POC throughout the world. A big change needs to occur at the business level. They need to hire POC and pay them fairly. POC need equal representation in the fashion industry and all industries for that matter.

But, we need to do stuff as consumers too. We need to research what companies we are purchasing from and instead purchase from companies that support POC. We need to quit giving money to companies exploiting all POC, especially in Asia. We need to write to these companies and asking for change. Support black-owned businesses and educate yourself on fast fashion and worldwide racism issues.

If you missed the first video/post about fast fashion and still don't know what it is, be sure to watch or read that.

I hope this post was eye opening and gets you thinking about what brands you should and shouldn't be supporting. The most important thing is to follow your moral compass and do your research.

Thanks for reading and until next time, remember that the small changes you make have a big impact in the long run.

Emma :)

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Hey there! Thanks for stopping by! 

My name is Emma. I am a 20-year-old new to this sustainable lifestyle. I am here to give you my tips as I learn them and help beginners begin their sustainable life...


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