I just saw River Blue, a documentary about how the fashion industry affects rivers in developing countries. It was hard to watch, but it inspired me to contact my favorite brands and ask them how their textiles are made.
When NAFTA was passed in 1994, US apparel companies flocked overseas to find cheaper manufacturing, first to Mexico, then across the pond. The problem is, manufacturing in those countries is cheaper because people are paid less and because factories aren’t forced to adhere to environmental standards. Simple things like wastewater treatment simply don’t exist in India, Bangladesh, and China. Because China has been the world’s factory, especially post-NAFTA, they are starting to clean up their act. But their workers are also able to demand higher wages, so brands that compete on price keep finding countries willing to let them use factories that exploit their people and the water they need. Continue reading “River Blue Shows Us How Our Clothes Affect Rivers”