Please read this article (found on etsy's blog) concerning the multi-layered negative environmental and human impact resulting from the global culture of consumerism that has emerged over the past decades. Charty Durrant echoes many of my concerns with the "fast fashion" culture that relies on sweatshop labor and massive pollution to continue. I almost wrote "to sustain itself" before correcting myself: this system is not sustainable and is irresponsible, causing so, so much harm and suffering.
From her article:
"The fashion industry’s pollution problems are multi-layered, and the cost is human and environmental; from unsustainable farming practices, uncontrolled pesticide use and toxic dyes to the squandering and contamination of global water reserves and the concerns over textile landfill, the debate gets ever more complex. It has been estimated that it takes 800 litres of water to grow the cotton for just one pair of jeans.
The trend for organic cotton over the past few years, though well-meaning, is not the whole solution, as cotton is a very thirsty crop. While some ethical designers provide good-quality, fairly traded organic cotton garments, this move has been used unscrupulously as a token gesture by the fashion industry to appease concerned consumers whilst other, unsustainable manufacturing processes continue unabated."
All of this contributes to why I choose to use exclusively recycled & vintage materials; I can salvage textiles that were discarded and avoid contributing to this nightmarish system. When you choose recycled/handmade/vintage over new, your decision helps the environment and you can sleep at night knowing you haven't contributed to the mistreatment of garment workers.