We have started making necklaces as a hobby. After meeting with other women artisans in Turkey and observing their struggles in making a living, I've decided to do something about it.
First I've started with a reading list on fashion, especially fast fashion. In a single word, it is terrible, just like anything else defined as "fast."
The garment industry is one of the most labor-intensive industries. Every piece of clothing you buy is sewn by a person, mostly a woman. In order to reduce the cost, garment workers are forced to work under terrible conditions with low wages and frequent overtimes without any job security. It is described as the modern-day slavery. The industry practices not only violate human rights but also have severe damage to the water supplies and environment. Low-cost clothing lures consumers to buy more and more, and therefore more clothes end up in landfills every year.
On April 24, 2013, a major garment factory, Rana Plaza collapsed, and 1,134 people died, more injured. It was the deadliest garment factory accident in the history. It was neither the first nor the last.
In the aftermath of this horrible accident, various organizations and many consumers have started to pay closer attention to the fashion industry. What they are seeking is a more transparent and humane industry so that any piece of cloth is not produced at the cost of a violation of a human, animal or environment.
The True Cost
While I was reading on fashion, I've come across with an amazing documentary, the True Cost. After watching it and learning the horrifying magnitude of the damage the fashion cause, I couldn't continue to be an ignorant consumer that I used to be. The documentary is only 92 minutes long, but the effects of it will be longer on you. So please, watch it!
Throughout the Fashion Revolution Week, There will be various events all around the world. There will be a screening of The True Cost and a panel discussion on April 24, 2018, in DC. For location and time details click here.
Becoming a Conscious Consumer
After learning all these, I've stopped shopping with apparel brands which are not transparent in their supply chains. It is the best shopping decision I have ever made. Before, I was a terrible consumer. I would follow all the sale events and buy anything without even thinking if I need it.
I've been a more conscious consumer in the past year. I've started shopping with smaller, transparent, and fair trade brands. I have to say, fashion is richer and more quality when you start shopping small. There are tons of brands out there which are good on both the people and the environment. You can always shop in second-hand stores, and exchange clothes with your friends and family.
I have started volunteering in Alexandria store of Ten Thousand Villages, which is a fair trade and not-for-profit gift shop. They work with fair trade artisan groups in developing countries to form a long-term relationship. Thanks to them, I've been introduced to many artisan groups all around the world.
As a consumer, you have so much power over apparel brands. You can simply ask who makes your clothes, shoes, or accessories. There are many brands that are doing business in the right way. Switching to those is just super easy!
Starting a Conscious Brand
I have started Mom&I by EK to make a difference in artisans life and to make our customers' life more colorful.
We are working with women artisans and paying them fair wages. Each of our necklaces is handcrafted by a woman artisan in 7 to 9 hours. By shopping with us, you are helping us to employ more women, and them to support their families. You, in turn, have a unique and colorful handcrafted necklace.