Consider the true cost of fashion

In another fine example of how local youth is thinking about contemporary issues, Ms McIntyre implores us to think about the providence of what we wear.

Fashion is an amazing way for people to explore their sense of self, passions and persona. But clothing, which began as a necessity to protect our bodies from the bitter elements, has developed into a $2.5 trillion industry that exploits human rights and preys on the insecurities of women.

So where did it all go wrong?

Post-WWII saw a boom in mass production and the beginnings of modern consumerism. From its humble and hopeful beginnings the fashion industry transformed into what we see today.

Before the sewing machine was invented the world of fashion was a collective of skilled artisans with a passion for creating beauty. With the introduction of the industrial sewing machine, the world fell into the trap of relying on advanced technology. Instead of the designer using the machine to supplement their artistry they became a slave to the machine.

Larissa Hadjio, a budding fashion designer in London, says the problem with the fashion industry is �Cheap mass production at the expense of craft and quality� and everyone who is filling their lives with ubiquitous crap suffers too.�

Today�s market for fast, disposable fashion drives designers to outsource their production process.

In Australia our workers are protected by the government�s minimum wage laws, so retail companies look at overseas resources for a more cost effective labour force. Big companies exploit the low minimum wage of underdeveloped countries to minimise the cost of production.

This has led to a labour section that is the western world�s emulation of slavery; the sweatshop. Companies in Australia that have been implicated in studies about Australian sweatshop use are Just Jeans, Rivers and even our beloved Bonds. These sweatshops undermine the human rights of their workers and are one of the world�s true costs of glamour.

Australia is lucky to have so many organisations designed to inform the consumer on the most ethical, savvy ways to shop , such as Ethical Clothing Australia. Supporting local and budding designers through local and online boutiques can help diversify the market and our wardrobes. The real cost of glamour is more than the money you spend on a gorgeous beaded clutch. What will you do to help reduce this cost?