It’s no secret that there are some major social, economic and environmental issues when it comes to the fashion and textile industries.
Possibly the most pressing issue we face today is fast fashion. The local fair trade boutique, Others, is combating the injustices of the apparel industry by giving back 100 percent of their store profit to worthy causes.
What is fast fashion?
Fast fashion is a modern term used to describe clothing designs that move very quickly from designer to catwalk to retailers, sometimes in a matter of days. The Netflix documentary, “The True Cost“, highlights how fast fashion (stores like H&M and Forever 21) are using both slave labor and environmentally damaging tactics to manufacture and sell cheap clothing.
Although it may seem “cheap” in every sense of the word, fast fashion comes at a very high price. Lucy Siegle, journalist and executive producer of “The True Cost,” questions the industry’s system: “This enormous, rapacious industry that is generating so much profit … why is it that it is unable to support millions of its workers properly?” Child labor, incredibly long hours and unhealthy, unsafe working conditions are the price we are paying for this “cheap” clothing, and something needs to be done about it.
What is Fair Trade Retailing?
So what is the answer? Although the problems within fashion industry are vast, small efforts from both retailers and consumers have the potential to go a long way. Several companies who wanted to combat unethical retailing practices started fair trade retailing, which focuses on transparency, eco-friendly trading policies and healthy, safe working conditions. Fair trade retailers such as Patagonia, People Tree, Everlane and Alternative Apparel have all been focusing on transparency, using their websites to show exactly where each of their products comes from. Not only are they able to track where each fiber and thread originates, they are also able to guarantee safe and healthy working conditions for the factories and their employees.
How is Others making a difference?
Aptly named, Others’ mission is to give back to the community by combining the enjoyment of shopping with the satisfaction of giving back. One hundred percent of the store profit is donated to worthy causes, both locally and abroad. In 2017 alone, Others will be giving away the entirety of their store profit to The Adventure Project, which was created to help support job creation in developing countries.
In the past few years, Others has also partnered with charity: water and the iF Foundation, whose goal is to provide wholesome breakfasts to the students at the Ebenezer School in Bordes, Haiti. Since their opening in 2014, Others has donated $21,079 to organizations both here in Fargo, North Dakota and internationally.
In a world filled with greed, it is easy to become dismayed; perhaps we may even associate the entire retail industry with the ethical injustices that consume many retailers across the globe. However, it only takes a few special retailers like Others and the passionate people behind them that bring hope for the future of the industry.
Others is located on 8th Street in downtown Fargo, North Dakota. Its hours of business are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.