Alden Wicker is a freelance journalist living in Brooklyn. She covers sustainable fashion and living, personal finance, and other curiosities.

If Your Jeans Are Cheaper Than This, You've Got A Problem

If Your Jeans Are Cheaper Than This, You've Got A Problem

Call me macabre, but I would really like to know how much jeans cost that guarantee their makers weren't maimed, poisoned, harassed, starved, or even killed in the process. Sorry, sorry, sorry. I know that’s no fun. But it’s a question that just keeps popping up no matter how much I try to not think about it.

I guess it stems from the fact that I consider myself a feminist. And it would be hypocritical to talk about women’s empowerment, but not support the women bent over their sewing machines for 12 hours a day making my fashion (as critics of Beyoncé’s allegedly sweatshop-made fitness line have pointed out). Then again, I’m not trying to spend my entire budget on one pair of $275 premium, Japanese, indigo-dyed, raw selvedge jeans. Is there a sweet spot between sustainable status-symbol jeans that cost hundreds, and the cheapest of the cheap?

Yes, Death Is A Thing
First, a little bit of soul-searching about the state of the fashion industry. A Phuket News report that came out on May 15 warned that another Rana Plaza — the infamous Bangladesh garment factory that collapsed in 2013, killing more than 1,000 workers — is just waiting to happen. Factories with padlocked emergency exits, expired fire extinguishers, and poor construction are everywhere in Bangladesh, not to mention in developing nations around the world. Despite efforts by two different coalitions to improve the safety of garment factories in Bangladesh, sweatshops are still operating there and globally, cutting every corner they can to make you clothing as cheaply as possible. And workers are paying the price. 

Read the rest on Refinery29.

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