Over the years, we’ve seen dozens of cheap clothing stores pop up. We’ve probably all scored a bargain or two in the way of a $10 singlet or pencil skirt or $20 heels. And we try to ignore the fact that these clothes fall apart after a round or two with the washing machine.Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wondered ‘who the hell is making these clothes so cheap?’ I once bought a dress that was entirely sequinned for $20. If you went to Lincraft, you can’t even buy enough sequins and fabric to make that dress for $20, let alone convince some poor dressmaker to stitch it together.
It’s quite clear that whoever made this dress wasn’t getting paid a lot for it.
And it isn’t just the ultra cheap stores who are involved in sweat shop labour either. Nike and Gap’s involvement have been well documented and we have to wonder what other brands are doing the same. After all, these practices are havily guarded and it takes a fair bit of research on a journalist’s part to get any information about sweatshop manufacturing. Plus, there’s the perils of labelling. “Made in Australia,” “Australian Owned” and “Product of Australia” all mean different things and it’s hard to not be confused.
Ethical fashion has become a major consideration for shoppers globally and while some have started analysing clothing brands before deciding to purchase, it is difficult and time consuming, even with directories popping up online and in print. Alternatively, some consider brands such as Junky Styling that are loud and proud in making ethics a number one priority – the great thing about this is that they tend to be smaller, boutique brands. Of course, all of this comes with a bigger price tag and let’s face it, a price tag beyond the reach of a studemt. So that’s where myself and many others turn to op shopping. I know where my clothes are coming from (someone’s closet), where the money is going to (supporting various charities). Oh, and I know that my $5 shirt isn’t going to fall apart after two washes.