Julie Allen-12/6/21

The Fashion Industry's Dirty Little Secrets

There are 152 MILLION CHILDREN in child labor situations. Re-read that.I had owned Mary Rose for over 3 years before I started asking questions about our vendor's supply chains. The status quo in the fashion industry is don't ask where the clothes came from, buy as much as possible for as little as possible, and sell. Sell fast and sell a lot. And we did. And we did it well. But here's the deal... There's always a cost. Always.

Child Labor in the fashion industry: Just because we can't see it well, does not mean it doesn't exist. Once I started to dig deeper into what really goes on in the fashion industry supply chain, I couldn't unsee it. We had to change. Because simply...it is the right thing to do.  These discussions are uncomfortable, but change doesn't happen in our comfort.

Yes, we're going to talk about it.

Yes, it's going to be uncomfortable.

Sit in that discomfort.

Feel it. Allow yourself to really hear what we are saying.

Child labour happens at all points along the supply chain. The most common places for children to be working are at the harvesting of materials (cotton is a huge one) and in the garment factory. The working conditions for these children are unsafe and unsanitary.

 According to an article written by @goodonyou_app “Fast fashion has engendered a race to the bottom, pushing companies to find ever-cheaper sources of labour,” says a UNICEF report. “That cheap labour is freely available in many of the countries where textile and garment production takes place.”

Cheap labor=child labor.

Ask the questions. "Where did this product come from?"

Demand an answer. The world of fashion will not change unless we start asking the questions and demanding better.

Doing better first involves knowing better.

We now know that child labor is a REAL problem in the fashion industry and with the constant race to produce more for the lowest cost, exploitation of children (and adults) is going to happen.

What we can do is decide to spend our money with companies that are providing living wages to all employees in their supply chain.

Companies that are transparent about where and how their clothing was made do exist and this is where we need to start paying attention.

If a company is doing it right, they will tell you. And not in the form of greenwashing. It can be tricky to tease apart, absolutely, but this is why we have spent the entire last year vetting every single vendor that we have chosen to carry. It's not always easy to find this information and we have spent countless hours researching, digging deeper, to assure our products are made ethically and as sustainably as possible.

You can make a difference by choosing to spend your dollars with companies that care. It takes one ripple to make a wave...let's make waves, loves. Let's make waves.

Be the change you want to see.

Having a handful of brands that you know have done the work on assuring a clean supply chain (ie. does NOT use forced child labor) makes shopping so much easier.

At Mary Rose, we have worked so hard over this last year to vet our vendors. We changed everything at the beginning of this last year. Everything.

Our upcoming line for the sexy minimalist, @hope.continues has been inspired by seeing a problem in the industry and making a change ourselves. The decision to use your buying power to support our business allows us to continue to make these changes in the fashion industry. More brands are becoming aware of the exploitation of children to achieve a low cost and are standing up against it. Doing things differently. It is time, my friends. We need to do better. 

You are beautiful beyond measure.

Making the World Better, One Thread at a Time

Article credit : Julie Allen. CEO, Mary Rose NW Boutique. Founder, Mary Rose Foundation. Author and Eating Disorder Awareness Activist

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