Am I really doing a disservice to those who suffered for my garments?
Had a thought-provoking comment from Lauren on this post: Companies are really full of crap these days, that made me think twice.
(And I encourage those kinds of comments! This is not an attack on Lauren, but it’s something that made my brain churn, which is always exciting.)
are you buying new things to replace usable ones that are made in less desirable circumstances or have you officially used them up/worn them out before purchasing new ones?
I would say not getting full use out of something that you already bought – something that someone is probably less likely to get full use out of if donated is not doing a service either and in some ways discredits the sacrifice/suffering already endured by the employees of the company
Interesting viewpoint, but for me, not applicable in this situation for this main reason:
I am not replacing that stuff with the same stuff I originally purchased.
If I said all of this, and then went out to re-purchase everything from retailers that dealt in Third World labour, then YES, I would be a hypocritical person who is not crediting those who suffered.
I DON’T THINK PEOPLE WHO SUFFERED FOR MY GARMENT CARE ONE FIG
Honestly, I don’t think the poor people who suffered for my garment care one fig that I am “discrediting” their misery by selling the items secondhand, donating or binning it.
They care about their situation and how to get out of it.
It’s even better that the market for cheap crap dies, so that people stop treating others like dispensable human resources and find other ways to make money.
To put it another way, this is not like with Feminism, where I talk a good game about wanting to be an equal partner and to go out to earn the bacon as much as my partner……
……and then I turn around, marry some rich guy, decide that Feminism is too much work, and campaign actively to give up my right to vote so that I can live like a kept woman under a man’s thumb and wallow in his money like a dressed up, perfumed, brainless plaything.
If I did THAT, I’d definitely be discrediting the brave, pioneering women who fought for those rights to begin with.
I’d be setting back that movement way back to the times when women were under the rule of a male person.. any male, even their sons.
In contrast, by my re-buying my essentials from countries that are ethical, pay fair wages and aren’t unscrupulous and greedy, I am in no way discrediting these workers or their suffering in any way for what they “gave up” for my garment.
In fact, I am actually helping them by hoping to put my money to good use to kill the demand for cheap crap by refusing to purchase from companies who support that.
It’s all our fault too as consumers. We vote with our money.
It’s that we DO buy cheap crap, and LOVE to do so, that the market exists and thrives.
Kill the demand, and the supply dries up.
Buy secondhand, and the supply of new crap, dries up.
PEOPLE WHO BUY SECONDHAND MAY NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES
I am well aware that not everyone has $1000 to drop on a pair of handmade boots from Italy.
I know that and I am not judging anyone who doesn’t do that.
You do what you think is best for you.
I also know that this is not the case for everyone who shops secondhand because I enjoy buying things used.
See, what I bought in the past, is perfectly fine, and it was of decent quality (I didn’t shop a whole bunch at Forever 21, H&M or those other cheap stores).
I’ll bet you what I have donated and sold is perfectly fine, but based on my philosophy and my values going forward, I can’t continue wearing it.
Call me crazy, but it’s the way I feel.
I’d feel like an utter fraud and I’d be lying to myself, which is the dumbest thing to do.
I made a choice, and I need to stick to it and go the whole hog.
Or else, where do I draw the line? Do I have fuzzy values in that case?
I AM KEEPING MY FORMER ITEMS OUT OF LANDFILLS
By donating or selling them, they don’t get chucked into a bin and forgotten about.
I really take care of what I buy, even the cheap stuff. I’ve noticed the cheap stuff doesn’t last as long, but nevertheless, I still take care of what I own.
So someone who is getting my boots or a sweater, can rest assured that it is pretty much like new, except the chemicals have washed out (80% leaves on the first wash), and I ate part of the retail cost for them, passing on savings.
They win in both ways, because the garment is already produced, the misery has already been passed on to me as the first purchaser, and they get savings on all the emotional, financial and environmental fronts.
NO ONE IS BUYING ANYTHING NEW WHICH SAVES ON MORE SUFFERING
If you think about it, the misery and suffering of those workers that went into that garment or the things that I am selling, are not being repeated because no one is buying anything new.
If someone didn’t buy my shoes, they’d probably go out and buy new shoes anyway.
I mean, I’m like that.
I have been hunting for rainboots for a long while, and it wasn’t until I found Aigle that I had a brand I could buy, however sooner or later, I would have purchased rain boots regardless of what was available or not on the market.
I am really just the in-betweener who offers them an option of buying gently used items in good condition, that they otherwise may not have purchased.
They’re not buying yet another set of things on top of the ones they’ve purchased from me.
CURRENTLY REPLACING WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR MY STYLE
Okay, so the jewellery not was “necessary” per se, but the underwear from Victoria’s Secret, and the fact that I had no rain boots, meant that I had a need for them in my wardrobe anyway.
I also bought new jewellery from artisans I admire on Etsy because I have no self control when the spending gates open.
Otherwise, I am not replacing my entire wardrobe and systematically buying the exact replica of each item, as long as it isn’t made in some poor country.
Frankly, I could get rid of half of my things and still have enough to wear for months on end.
(Very anti-minimalist of me, I know, but I am counting on the idea of remixing my clothing too.)
SO NO, I DON’T THINK I’M DISCREDITING ANYONE WHO SUFFERED FOR MY PREVIOUS GARMENTS AND THINGS
I’d like to think that by selling and donating it to people who will love it more than I will, and refusing to re-purchase or buy anything from companies that deal in such practices, I am making a conscientious choice as an ethical consumer to say “No” and stop contributing to the demand for cheap, low-quality clothing.
Thanks for the comment Lauren, you really made my day and made me understand on a deeper level the choice I have made.
Now, I have stronger convictions about my values because of what you have said. 🙂