Is life only fair

Honestly Why I still don't wear fair fashion


Five reasons against fair fashion - and five arguments why they are bullshit. An argument with myself about fashion, ethics and why I really have nothing to wear.

From: Teresa Fries

Status: 04/19/2016 | archive

When I started researching the topic of “fair fashion”, I knew the term and the problems behind it. And although I know that "fast fashion" is not great, I sat in front of the computer in: pants from H&M, T-shirt from Cos, sweater from Zara, shoes from I don't know, but certainly not fair.

And the strange thing was: When I thought about it, my guilty conscience didn't hit me with full force. Not even with half the force. When it comes up, it’s been a breeze. Not to be compared with the situation when a vegetarian sits at the table while eating schnitzel and says: Have you ever seen a pig transporter on the way to the slaughterhouse? And also not to be compared with the feeling when you are about to bite into a KitKat with relish and someone reminds you of the anti-palm oil advertisement with the orangutan fingers.

But why? I'm not a particular animal lover and theoretically I know how hard people have to work for cheap clothes, under conditions that harm them and, in the worst case, even cost them their lives. I know the Rana Plaza pictures from Bangladesh. So why don't I manage to buy clothes that are made under fair conditions while shopping, but often do without meat, can no longer eat KitKat and buy organic fruit?

When I think about it, I hear two voices in my head. A strong one that explains my behavior and has excuses ready, and one that is not yet particularly assertive, whose favorite word seems to be "but". As if, like in the comic, angels and devils were sitting on my shoulders.

The devil me: fair fashion? What else should you worry about? You are not allowed to fly, drive a car, eat meat, only buy organic vegetables, but only from the region, deodorants only without aluminum, shower gel only without microplastics and, best of all, everything without packaging and, above all, nothing in a plastic bag . You always have to have your drinking cup with you so that you don't drink the coffee out of the cardboard, the coffee must of course be Fairtrade and the milk in it expensive enough to ensure the livelihood of the farmers. You're already doing what you can.

Engel-Ich: I'm sorry to have to say that, but: What's the point if you drink the coffee from your own mug and your shower gel is plastic-free, the chemical color that your black jeans are colored with, but at the same time poisons the rivers ? And you smelled that it must have been poisonous when you bought it, admit it. The fact that you are already doing a lot is no reason to be sloppy with your clothes. On the contrary. If you stop there, all of your other efforts will be of less value.

You're not that bad now either. I mean, you wouldn't shop at Kik or Primark. And you haven't been to H&M in a long time. You always buy more expensive things.

Just because things are more expensive doesn't mean they were made better. You only buy them because you like them better. Most of the time you don't even look at the slip of paper where the clothes come from.

But that's exactly the point. No matter what you buy, you can only get it wrong. The most expensive brands - everything comes from China. And these weird fair and eco seals are just money-making. They're all kidding.

But you also like to be fooled - it's a great excuse. Otherwise you think you're pretty smart. But you can't see through the brands? It is not that hard. When it comes to cheap clothes, it is clear that there cannot be any fair wages left for the textile workers. And when an expensive brand produces fairly, it writes it big on it. That's great for the image. And if in doubt, you can just go straight to fair business, you don't have the problem.

But neither is the choice. Fashion is there to make you look good in the end. That should be fun. And that also includes buying a T-shirt in three colors and a fourth pair of sneakers, because they look a little different from the others. It's the feeling of freedom when you get up in the morning and have a huge selection of what makes it so beautiful. Anyway, you work hard for your money. Then you can buy as many clothes as you want from them.

Because of freedom of choice. You stand in front of the closet every morning and you find nothing to wear with so many choices. Because you just buy way too many things and after a week you don't find them so great after all. If you were to shop more specifically and think more carefully about what you want, not only would your style be better, you would also save yourself the eternal search for outfits in the morning. Sleep 15 minutes longer - that's freedom.
And if you think you work hard for your money, what do you think the seamstresses are doing in Bangladesh, Cambodia or Myanmar?

Of course there are people who work harder than you. But they are also really far away. What good does it do them if you go shopping and walk around in a fair t-shirt instead of a cheaper one? You won't do anything there with that either. And what would happen if the cheap labels make less sales? The workers would lose their jobs. And when children work, it is because they have to to support their families. What happens to the family when child labor is banned?

Just because people live further away doesn't mean they are worth less. You are privileged, you were born in Germany. Could have gone differently. If the market changes and people are buying fewer disposable clothing, it doesn't mean that all factories are closing and workers are starving. The brands react to the market. When the demand for fair things grows, the supply for them changes too. Then maybe at some point the children no longer have to work to support their families, but the parents earn enough to even send the children to school.

This argument goes on and on and goes in circles. It is a quarrel that takes place one way or another in many minds. Sometimes heated, sometimes more restrained. For me it got louder and louder in the course of my research. I haven't bought cheap clothes since I started a few weeks ago. But neither are fair ones. I'm practically in a waiting phase and I'm excited to see what happens the next time I go shopping. Do I order something in the fair online shop or does it just take some time to displace everything again?

I can understand my reasons against fair fashion. Just like I know they're wrong. I just have to convince myself of it.