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Why Cheap Fashion Isn’t Cheap


Recently, I came upon this quote.  And, it really got me thinking about the realities of the purse, the pocketbook, and power: “Cheap fashion is really far from that, it may be cheap in terms of the financial cost, but very expensive when it comes to the environment and the cost of human life.” – Sass Brown, author of ECO Fashion.

Let’s be honest.  Who here hasn’t bought a fast fashion garment (or 2, 3, 4…) at least once in their lives? We all know the economic benefit or savings from “getting more for less” or from “not breaking the bank.”

Indeed, cheap fashion may seem like a bargain in terms of our wallets, but the TRUTH is:

👉 It comes at a very high price for our planet — The overuse of resources and the pollution caused by its production and disposal processes have long-lasting, negative effects on the planet.

👉 It comes at a very high price for the people involved in its production — Many fast fashion brands cut corners when it comes to worker safety and fair wages. This can lead to unsafe working conditions, human rights abuses, and an unbreakable chain of harm. 

So, what are we to do?  How do we balance what is “good for our $” and what is “good for our planet and people”?  Is this possible? Yes, it’s possible. And, here’s my way of beginning to think about it…

1. Replace: the word “spending” with the word “investing” when it comes to deciding what to do with your resources.  

2. Ask yourself: Who or what am I investing in today? Can this one “investment” take the place of all the “spending” that I’ve done for cheaper, less durable, less valuable pieces?

3. Know: Investments are typically made for the long-haul.  And, they’re often made to secure a return of some sort.  In this case, investing in sustainable fashion bears fruit.  Sustainably-made clothing reduces the use of natural resources, promises a durable life-cycle, and ensures fair, livable wages.

Remember: With each decision we make, we’re VOTING IN our personal mandates for the planet and for the people involved in every step of the fashion supply chain.


Begin to think about spending as an investment.  And, see how it goes.  You may be surprised.  

Thoughts?!? Share your insight below. Thank you!  

xo, Kathleen

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