Most Lennard Taylor taste makers are very conscious of who makes their clothing and where their garments are made. A high-quality wardrobe can cost a bit more but, over time, long-term wardrobe pieces are a better choice for so many reasons. The choices we make when it comes to our clothing matter on a much larger scale. Your bank account balance may stay a bit higher when you buy a $30 shirt, but the social and ethical costs are far reaching.
Many clothing retailers in department stores, malls and big box stores offer clothing at a much lower cost than those designed and constructed by Lennard Taylor. These fast fashion retailers are able to offer you a much lower cost for a reason. Here are some important facts about their clothing.
Cheaply made clothing is made in factories overseas where the workers are paid next to nothing to work in deplorable conditions. Migrant garment workers often live hundreds of miles from family and friends, work very long hours and live in poor conditions in dorms with other workers. The low price tag on your fast fashion clothing piece not only reflects a poorly constructed garment, its social impact on third world populations is far reaching.
There's something to say about a company that can tell you the name of the person who made your clothes.
Over 50% of all clothing produced in the fast fashion industry is made with polyester fibres. Polyester is derived from crude oil and its production requires a high amount of energy, responsible for releasing 10% (2.1 million tons) of carbon dioxide each year.
While the production of these garments has a huge impact on the environment, the 'consumption' of the clothing poses a great threat too. Trends in spending are showing us that, because the clothing is at a such a low price point, we tend to over buy. And because the garments are poor quality and don't wear as long, they are being discarded at a much higher rate than in the past. Polyester is not biodegradable and takes over 200 years to break down.
So maybe that well made, timeless, long-lasting, (and higher priced) cotton shirt isn't such a bad investment after all.
What you can do...
Purchasing clothing made from natural or sustainable fibres, like wool, cotton, linen, silk or TENCEL™ ensures your clothing will last longer and, when it does reach the end of its long life, it will biodegrade naturally.
Ask questions. Can the company you are buying from give you good answers about the way their garment workers are paid and treated.
Work toward a lean closet. Collect fewer (but better quality) foundation pieces that allow you to build many different looks. Donate the pieces you no longer wear to a charity that helps other women. In Winnipeg we recommend The Clothes Closet.
We know that being more sensitive to sustainability and social consciousness while building your wardrobe is a process. It's not reasonable to expect people to buy only high-quality, natural fibre clothing from now on. That's not fiscally feasible. We are suggesting that when you need to get yourself that foundation, statement piece that you want to last through fashion trends and the test of time, make an investment. Eventually, you'll have a wardrobe full of pieces that you can mix and match. You can be proud knowing your conscious shopping kept a few more polyester pieces out of our landfills and paid a living wage to a garment worker.
What we are doing and hope to do...
Here at Lennard Taylor growth, change and improvement is always at the front of our minds when we look ahead. We know that there is room for improvement when it comes to the ethical production of our garments. We know we have further to go before we can say that our collection is entirely ethically produced. Sourcing ethically and sustainably produced textiles is a challenge we have been working on. We are a small company and are doing what we can as we grow. While our clothing is constructed by Canadians who are paid a living wage, we still hope to take steps toward ensuring that someday all of our textiles will be ethically and sustainably made, with as little carbon footprint as possible. We aim to work toward the model that Eileen Fisher has built for her company. She believes that "sustainable practices need to become an industry norm. We should all be working together toward a larger goal, keeping the environment and social issues front and center—in China, the US and everywhere".