I’ve been talking to a few ladies recently about the manufacturing practices of some Australian brands as discussed during the Four Corners story shown on ABC a month or two ago. I watched it on iView, I’m not sure if it’s still there. It’s well worth a watch if you want to change the way you think about fashion. If you want to slow down your consumption and know a little more about where your clothes come from and under what conditions they are made.

You see I’m the daughter of a farmer and have always prided myself on not buying generic brands who require farmers to turn over crops or deliver a product at such a low margin they are basically farming for the love of it. I’ve heard the arguments about tight budgets and continue to stress that it matters more to care about people, about families and about securing the supply chain for years to come. It matters more to do what’s right.

Apparently I had blinkers on. This is not something that only happens in the food and milk industries. It happens everywhere. It especially happens with clothing. But WORSE. Image now that dairy farmer not only has to accept a teeny tiny amount for his product but he has to halve that price, work under duress in unsafe situations with a hard ass boss hanging over his head to make sure he delivers on time.

That’s the clothing industry. Sometimes.

My key questions are how do I find reliable information to purchase responsibly. How do we know that the information we as consumers is provided is accurate and can be easily verified. I’m still struggling to find all the information I want to know. I look for facts and figures, places, times and dates. There’s just not that much out there that’s not passed from source to source. Sometimes without verification. But I need to know more.

This post wasn’t intended to make you feel bad about the clothing in your wardrobe. But maybe it should have been. When I took a long hard look at the items I had purchased there were a number of brands who have been reported to have unsafe, unfair and just plain shit work environments for their workers. I felt sick. I wanted to purge them from my wardrobe and feel better.

I’m doing my best to make better choices within the budget and availability constraints I have. I think hard before I purchase an item considering if my wardrobe needs and whether I’m okay with buying from stores that have been reported to have questionable practices. I continue to research and look for information and request it of brands. I look towards local brands who I know are playing fair to supplement my wardrobe. I take my purchases a little more slowly and with a little less volume.

I guess my point is, I’d love for you to do the same.

After all as they say

Caveat emptor.

Let the buyer beware. And maybe, just maybe let the buyer be AWARE, right?