Anniina Nurmi and her Vihreät Vaatteet (green clothing media), which has been providing information about responsible clothing since 2008, inspired us to write this text. Last year, she made a video about “Vaatteiden seitsemän kuolemansyntiä” (the seven deadly sins of clothing) in Finnish. We thought this topic is so important that we decided to use her idea and list the seven deadly sins in English.
Most clothing brands manufacture items in unfair conditions and don't consider the environmental costs. Clothing companies are too proud to admit they have been wrong in the past decades. The way they produce clothes is not ecological or fair. The companies try to hide the fact by doing small responsible acts such as launching a “green collection” where they use recycled material or organic cotton instead of conventional materials. Acts like these are only a part of the responsibility, and they don’t make a company fully sustainable.
We need more companies who do things differently. We need more transparency around the supply chains and taking responsibility must be the core value.
Somehow, we here in western countries are not ready to give up our current living standards. We think it is our right to have high living standards, but at the same time, we think it wouldn't be sustainable if everyone in the world lived in the same way. From this point of view, we are envious of people in the third countries by thinking they are not allowed to have the same living standards as we have.
Maybe it is time to change our definition of high living standards so that no one is excluded.
This one might be the most extreme idea of these seven points. People producing clothing in unfair, unhealthy, environmentally dangerous conditions must be full of hate. They are angry towards the world and other people. If they saw everybody as an equal, they would not cause suffering. At the moment, we benefit from other people’s misery.
In consumer surveys, the majority of people reply they value responsible companies. Rarely people choose responsible alternatives when they purchase something. It is true you need to do a bit research first - at least in the beginning. It is far from being impossible though! Making responsible choices have never been so easy as it is today and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to choose well.
The idea of Fast Fashion is to produce more and more, cheaper and cheaper so that the companies can sell more and more, quicker and quicker. The ultimate goal is to maximise profit for the shareholders. The problem is that money goes above everything and the companies don't consider the other costs. The greediness might bring money into the company but the costs of unfair conditions and being environmentally unfriendly are unmeasurable.
Fast Fashion is like fast food - it’s cheap and easy. We buy things we don’t need so that we can feel the joy and happiness that the material brings. Soon, we need to buy more because the feeling stays only for a brief moment. But the question we need to ask from ourselves is if the material can really bring us happiness.
In the end, “fast fashion is like fast food. After the sugar rush, it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth.” This quote from Livia Firth could not be more accurate.
And finally, nothing is enough. When lust takes control of our actions, we do not act rationally. We don’t take notice whether we really need something or if the desire is only something contemporary that goes away after one good night sleep.
Are you driven by lust when you make purchasing decisions or do you trust in forethought?
Today is Black Friday - a day that encourages us to over-consume. Today is also Buy Nothing Day - a day that encourages us to think before we buy. Today, we have a Blackout on Népra online store meaning our online store is closed for a day. No matter what you choose today, make sure your purchases bring you joy month after month.
Ama & Essi
Photos by Julius Töyrylä
This article was originally published in November 2018.