True cost of fashion

Im mad, and really upset. I’ve tried so hard the last year to make some big strides in reconstructing my wardrobe, and continuing to learn what really happens when our clothes are made. I stripped my entire wardrobe of anything from Forever 21 (I donated it all), and have kept my promise that when I buy new clothing, it will only be US made. Then I read something like this, Forever 21 will be opening more stores with cheaper clothes, and I think how?? WHY??

These F12 Red stores, as they’re calling them, will focus on selling the cheapest basics already carried at Forever 21 in one separate store. It just seems they’re going the absolute opposite way. A few of the comments on that post were so cringe worthy too –

“Regular F21 shoppers like myself understand that these aren’t items made to last a lifetime–they’re fad items for a reason…Seriously, I love this company. It’s impressively on-trend (like, right there with the designers…) and I’ve gotten some amazing pieces from the store. Long live F21!!!”


“I love F21 but some of their stuff is way over priced”

It just proves how unaware people are at the severity of this issue

This video is almost a year old, but still rings so true.

The video is absolutely right in saying there is a complete disconnect between how the item is made and the consumer. It’s an unsustainable business model, and completely irresponsible. I wasn’t going to publish this post at first…for many reasons – I’m not perfect, I don’t have a solution for everyone, and it’s hard to write and read such words on a blog. But you know what, people are dying to make stupid fucking tshirts and we want to pretend like nothing is going on?

I’d love to hear your guys’ opinions on this – good and bad. It’s a conversation we need to start having more.


  • I am really glad you posted this. And your posts about this topic have made a difference. I don’t shop at Forever 21 anymore (in part I never did much because it is not close to me; but now because you have really brought this topic home). I know there are places I do still shop at where I don’t know the manufacturing practices, which is horrible and I’m definitely still in a shift to thinking about longer term, more quality-invested wardrobe in the hopes of consuming less.

    In the video, it was really interesting to me that one of the speakers point out we have “52 fashion weeks” because there’s always something new out. I have a feeling that is also really hard on those small businesses/boutiques as well. And what struck me was wondering how often I get pulled into that trap of “Oh, cool new thing/fad!” I used to think I didn’t follow trends much but since blogging have realized I do- I may be more selective about which I do follow but am certainly more aware of them.

    Anyway, also enjoying your posts about American Made/Free Trade/Ethical stores that you occasionally do.

    • Eli

      My sister used to be the worst F21 offender, I’ve weaned her off a bit, convincing her to wear what she has than to buy more. But some of the comments on the Buzzfeed thread show how oblivious people still are! It’s insane. It’s sad! But I can’t tell people stop shopping at Forever 21/H&M/Target/Walmart cold turkey – where else are they to buy their clothes? We need to have different relationships with the clothes we wear. I think each person that constructs a cloth should get a label with their name on the article too!

  • I just posted recently that I had not upheld my commitment to shopping ethically. I’m glad you posted this because it’s a much-needed reminder to recommit and focus on buying items that help others, rather than cheap items to fill my closet even more.

    • Eli

      We’re not perfect – while I’ve stuck to my new clothing USA only, I have tried to do that while thrifting too, but not always successful. And then I buy shoes that are made in China because there arent many made in the USA and I can’t afford to only buy italian shoes. We’re all in this together 🙁

  • I’m also glad you posted this. It’s always good to have a reminder to help hold us accountable for thinking about it. It’s really challenging to make the right choices – even when we are committed to making ethical choices. (I bought a rayon blend top made in NYC and I prefer to buy material that can be recycled like cotton…and then felt bad about that for a while.)

    • Eli

      I thrifted some rayon blend pants the other day too, but I kind of had to. My librarian profession requires me to dress up some days at least, I wish I could live in cottons. But since I have to wear pants a lot, I have to cave in! You’ve done really well on your blog sharing your thoughts on the whole thing, you keep me motivated!

  • I really hate F21, I granted have a few blouses that I’ve managed to keep in good condition (only hand wash clothes). Clothes should be pricey, it means some type of quality and keeps you from over buying… A problem that we as a nation are faced with.

    I am starting to create my own buying plan for the future, trying to again start making many clothes pieces, and when I can’t being more conscious on where the product comes from. I think its great to do that for work practices but my reasoning is more environmental considering where I work. I work for a weather company, and am constantly reminded how manufacturing is contributing to greenhouse gases. Not only does buying USA made products help our own nation’s economy, and there are stricter labor laws. Also here there are stricter emissions laws, whereas many clothing manufacturing countries have virtually none. People don’t always think about the energy it takes to create the fabric, cut and sew it. With better choices in our wardrobe we can try to support better workers rights and protection of our environment. So there’s one more thing to add to your cause!

    Love what you do, and I’d still love to buy you a coffee and pick your bay area thrifting brain!