1. People dedicate their lives to our wardrobe
There are hundreds of people who spend 12 hours a day, 6 days a week dyeing the fabric from which our clothes are made. They work at factories that operate on an enormous scale, and live in a city within its walls. Their is no work-life balance. They are at the same work station every day, eat their meals in the same cafeteria, and sleep in the same dorm room every night. They see their family perhaps once a year, traveling home for Chinese New Year.
When asked about you, the consumer, every worker wanted you to know the effort and care that goes into making your clothes, and they hope you feel beautiful.
2. It is a dirty process
No matter how you slice it, creating fabric is a dirty process. Chemicals and colored dyes are a necessary evil to get the beautiful rich colors and patterns, and despite technological advances, humans are an irreplaceable facet of the process. And the chemicals take a toll.
Choosing fashion made with natural dyes is better for maker and consumer health and for the environment! Ask your favorite brand what they are doing to protect our air, water, and the humans who dye, cut, and sew our fabric?
3. Our parallels
After visiting so many factories around the world and talking to makers, I can’t help but think about the similarities between us.
At 19, Ming Hui left home and headed to the city to work at factories as a stepping stone into her future. I was the same age when I left home for college as a first step out into the world. Being away from home for the first time, we both experienced the highs and lows of life. We miss our family, get pestered by our mothers to call more often, and embrace the fact that we don’t need to do household chores. We dream about falling in love, traveling the world, and what our family will be like in the future. A world away from one another, Zheng and I are connected by the clothes I put on everyday.