This Month: Less Factory-Made Clothes

by Alison Gerber

apartment therapy wardrobe

I can’t help it: I love fashion. I know it seems cliche, but I love to express myself through clothing. I want all of my inside-self on display on my outside-self. “Hello, me!” I greet myself with in the mirror in the morning, “you look awesome.”

Born of this: for as long as I can remember, I have wanted to acquire more and more new clothes. Such are the required tools of the passionate lover of fashion. Case in point: my 7th birthday. What did I ask for? A denim jacket. With embroidered flowers. It was 1989.

And so this continued well into 2012. My blissfully ignorant acquisition of new clothes for the purpose of self expression. But everything changed when this happened:


In November of that year: 117 people died and over 200 injured working in a factory that produces the very same cheap clothing I was proud to own.

This wasn’t just another news story to me. It felt personal. Call me crazy, but I felt personally responsible for this tragedy. By buying the clothes that I bought, I was supporting an industry that so disregarded the safety and wellbeing of their workers that over 100 of them died preventible deaths. What can I possibly do now? How can I keep going to the mall, buying clothes, injecting cash into a system that hurts, that kills people?

I know this is a complex question, which is why I want to give myself some time to figure it out. And a space: this blog, where I might share my thoughts and also hear what you have to say. And all the while, I am making a commitment to not buy any factory made clothing. I’ve thought about giving up fashion (and I suppose I’ll get to this question)…but I can’t do it. It’s like chopping off an arm of my ability to self-express. Instead I’ll spend some time looking at other alternative ways, perhaps even more creative ways, to live out that passion.

All of this will be here, on the Less Blog, for the next couple of weeks. I hope you’ll subscribe, comment, share, tag along!

(Images: Not my wardrobe! From Apartment Therapy’s Monica Wang)