Wear no evil


It's a bargain! ... with the devil


Verse: Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

A $14 t-shirt is a bargain for the New Zealand consumer. It also provides a job for someone in a country that is poorer than New Zealand. Yet some of those people work in conditions that we deemed morally unacceptable domestically by the end of the 19th century — so why is it still happening?

This week, we’ll look at the fashion industry as it’s a very clear example. Over the past two decades, the price of clothing has steadily decreased. All the while, the profits earned by global fashion corporations have risen to the point where the industry is now worth three trillion dollars per annum.

To achieve market share, fashion corporations compete fiercely. This competition has placed pressure on factories making the clothes to deliver the same quality clothing for ever-decreasing costs. If they can’t compromise on quality, still have to pay for spinning machines and won’t accept lower profits, where do the garment manufacturers compromise? 

That’s right, it’s on worker pay and worker rights. This downward pressure on price turns up as longer hours, unsafe conditions, oppressive heat in crowded factories, and minimal worker benefits. Other side-effects include environmental costs like polluted rivers.

Unfun fact: the true cost of cheap clothes


This week, rise to the challenge of The Great Wardrobe Clean Out
  • Step one: Set aside time this week (you don’t have to do it all at once) to analyse your wardrobe. Take out everything you haven’t worn or used in the last year, and anything else you rarely wear.
  • Step two: Repurpose, reuse, recycle! Your challenge is to select 80% of those items you haven’t worn in the past year, and either:
    • Repurpose them into something new! Check out this awesome guide for 40 things to do with your boring old clothes, such as making quilts, kid's toys, and even artwork! Or turn those jeans into shorts.
    • Give them to friends and family you think would get more use out of them than you.
    • Deliver them to an opshop who can use them to raise money for a great cause.
  •  Step three: Stop it building up again; send those coat-hangers to an op-shop too! Fewer hangers = fewer clothes! Decide to stick to a certain number of hangers, and a certain number of clothes. That way you’ll have an automatic one-in-one-out policy, which will make you think twice about buying so regularly, and throwing things away so easily. Simple, eh?
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