When My Eyes Opened

Wearing something trendy like scrunchies was something I never gave a second thought, but this can be harmful, not necessarily scrunchies, but trends. I have never noticed how harmful trends were or anything harmful within my spending. When scrunchies became big again I went crazy and bought tons of them, because they were just so cute, and I had to have tons of them. Where are they now? You might be wondering but they currently are all in a basket under my bed collecting dust. I also purchased these from a retail store called ‘forever 21’, which is such a trendy store for teenagers like me. Later learning about just how bad these fast fashion stores is so harmful to contribute to. 

In my Wicked Problems of Industrial Practice class, I learned a lot more about sustainability problems within the fashion industry than I could have ever imagined in the short amount of time that I have attended this class. I and some friends went out to eat together at our student union and talked more about the problems within our industry after class. I absolutely loved hearing and sharing our own ideas about what we want to change within our own brands especially with working and learning to be more sustainable. 

Fast fashion alone is insane to learn about, it was extremely eye-opening and personally, this topic hit me the hardest. I learned about the conditions of sweatshops and how little the workers could be paid. The workers could also be children that are overworked and underpaid since child labor laws are different in about every country. Fast fashion seems like such a clever idea, especially since prices are so low, and you can sometimes buy such an abundance of items if you wanted for a lot less than what something made sustainably would cost.  

Corporations and big companies are huge contributors to so many issues relating to the fashion industry. Amazon is a huge one, with tons and tons of coupons or online sales, people hardly go into actual stores, local stores are forgotten. How much easier is it for people to be able to online something and have it shipped to the house rather than having to get dressed and get out the door to buy something? How easy is it to order food through a food delivery service on your phone, instead of going out to eat with your family? Watching movies, new movies at that, can all be done at home. COVID-19 also has hit us hard with people not wanting to get out, in fear of being at risk of catching COVID-19. Everything has been made easier with accomdations specifically so you do not need to leave the house. Even things like groceries, Walmart now has an added feature where you can get your groceries delivered, to your front door. All of these things are just insane. 

Within Amazon, a major corporation, everything from the way the building operates to the package arriving you could pick out sustaiability issues. The workers work long hour days in not very comfortable conditions. Amazon factories are producing so much every single day there is so much within the chemicals they produce daily, they are for sure causing so much harm to our enviornment. They are taking up so many jobs I feel like the more corporations take over, our future will just be either working for Amazon or 2 other corporations of your choice or not getting to work. Amazon has their drivers and use so much packaging for small items it creates so much waste. But myself and tons of other consumers on the receiving end hardly ever think of things like this being a possibility, we are so blinded by the amazing deals and prime shipping that we would never even stop to think it could be badly affecting our planet. 

Another thing that blew my mind in class, every time global issues were brought up in my life, just in general, I did not think I would be affected in any way and certainly not anytime soon. I truly thought global warming and various other issues would be something my grandkids or even their grandkids would have to worry about. Of course I did not purposefully live without thinking it was something I should care about, I am really passionate about trying to live sustainably and change things in my daily life to be more sustainable. Global Warming and problems that come with it because of our choices we have all made regarding the planet are something we are already having to deal with as well as will continue to deal with but in even worse conditions very soon. This is a serious issue that we are dealing with each year and is worsening each year. 

So, learning about all these issues in class, there is no way I am just going to hear about them and do absolutely nothing about it. I have been trying to use my more of reusable things in my life rather than continuing to use single use things like plastic water bottles. This process is something that I truly have to work at everyday to continue to work to be less wasteful. There are so many resources that myself and whoever reading can use to work at becoming less wasteful just in daily life, a big thing I have learned is just reusing items and objects that you already own. If you have an old reusable water bottle use that rather than going out and buying another. There are tons of YouTube videos out there and articles, what really helps is understanding how much trash you produce and how much of that is harming the environment when you could cut back on how much you produce just but recycling as much as you possibly can. Also learning what can and cannot be recycled so you are more aware of what to avoid can really help.  

Thrift shopping is extremely fun and is of course related to fashion, but there are so many good deals you can find on clothes that cost so little, and it is even better when the thrift shops proceeds go towards charity. You are helping the environment by reusing items already made rather than buying more that will eventually end up in the trash or passed down and again thrown out. But with thrift shopping you could also be helping give to people experiencing any sort of problem if proceeds go towards organizations or charities. Thrift shopping is also just fun experience in trying new styles that you once might not of even thought to try, and good for experimenting with your style, fashions students and anyone interested in fashion know this all to well. 

Again learning about these issues within the fashion industry I now recognize what I want to change, and how I want my future brand to be sustainable. I want my packages to be sustainable and eco-friendly. I want the products themselves to be cruelty free, and sustainable within how they are made. Wicked problems are now the focus of what I want to change and center my focus on within the fashion industry along with applying to change so many other wicked problems for my brand. My mind has truly been expanded having learned about these various issues and for that I am lucky to be able to spread this information on to viewers like you!

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