(update: this post references our now discontinued Kid's Pants - but the problem of fast fashion continues to be an issue we are very passionate about.)
We’re Rachel and Jesse.
We're parents to a beautiful little girl and the founders of KOOSHOO, the ethical fashion company responsible for this blog.
Our goal as a company is (A) to create better options to fast fashion and (B) to educate consumers about the power they have to effect change in this industry.
We just watched an incredible documentary called The True Cost. It's on Netflix and will change the way you see your clothes.
Please watch it. It got us fired up.
Here's the trailer:
Watching it brought us back to why we started this company in the first place. We'd just arrived back from a year long backpacking trip through Asia. On that trip we'd traveled through many of the communities manufacturing fashion for the West. Even on the periphery of the industry, the polluted waterways and air, as well as the overwhelming amount of waste, was striking - and that's without even seeing the working conditions behind the gated walls.
Here's the thing: fast fashion is bad. Yes it's affordable and yes it's convenient; but it's putting one person's value in life above another person's and that's not right. Why should we get a pair of baby pants for $4 in a grocery store when, for that price, cotton farmers died to grow the cotton (an Indian farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes due to bankruptcy) and workers put their lives in danger to sew them?
Yes, that's an extreme and intentionally visceral example, but those things really happen and all in the name of fashion. The truth is: fast fashion is TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!
We started KOOSHOO to be everything the opposite: transparent, honest, ethical and mindful of every stakeholder that goes into making a garment (and there are many). We're far from perfect but we are doing our best. And yes, sometimes in the interest of making a living for our family we forget this, but then we see something like that video above, or another horrible & preventable garment factory disaster occurs, and it brings us back to why we started this in the first place.
For us, it's about showing people there are better options. It's also about encouraging accountability for our decisions.
Fast fashion has fundamentally changed the way we shop.
Today we buy 400% more clothing than we were buying 20 years ago. The cost of clothing has actually decreased in that same time - try rationalizing that in a world of increasing costs!
The result is not only poisoned overseas communities and horrific working conditions - but mountains and mountains of waste.
Last year North Americans purchased 20 billion fashion garments. That works out to 60 garments each for every man, woman and child in the country! These clothes are not, for the most part, intended to be worn for long. The result is that around 70lbs of clothing is being tossed in the garbage - even more to thrift stores - by every person every year. That's about 20 outfits per person worth of clothing in the garbage every year!
This should be making you frustrated. What a waste, right?
When we had a child we learnt the childrenswear industry was one of the worst culprits.
It's become understood that baby clothing comes in 3 month size increments. In other words, Baby will go through 4 pairs of pants in just their first year alone. This is not only inconvenient and costly for parents (constantly shopping and packing away clothing) but it contributes greatly to the waste outlined above.
Most important: it doesn’t need to be the case!
Our daughter is 20 months old and wearing the same size KOOSHOO Kids Pants as she did when she was just 5 months old. In that time, she’d have gone through 3-4 sizes of fast fashion pants. With 4 million babies born annually in North America a design like ours could save 8 to 12 million garments from landfills annually - in just that size alone! Best of all, they look rockin' while doing their part for a better future!
Such a simple solution. Such a massive difference.
You may have seen this. It's a Woody Harrelson spoken word poem that sums up what role we play in all of this. Skip to the end if in a rush.
The key point: Do you dare be responsible for every dollar you lay down?
That's the truth.
If you want to see a better future - one with less harm in overseas communities and less waste in ours - vote with your wallet. If you're going to buy new, choose to buy less and then support businesses like ours making an effort to do it right.
We have a crowdfunding campaign on now pre-selling those kids pants. We’ve designed packages to so that there’s something for everyone – including credit to our store for men’s and women’s fashion.
Please share this message with friends and family that care.
Help us make fashion accountable to our next generation.
Jesse & Rachel