Have you ever wondered who made the clothes you’re wearing?
That’s really not something I’ve ever stopped to consider. I wander into a clothing store, choose the pants or shirt I like the most (and usually the one with the most affordable price tag) and add it to my heaving wardrobe without a second thought for where the garment was made or what part of the world it came from. I assume that if I’m buying it from a reputable store then the money I’m paying is going to fairly reward whoever made the clothes I purchased. But this week I have discovered that this is often not the case. A lot of the clothes we buy have been made overseas by workers who have been underpaid and exploited in a system that is nothing more than modern slavery. The reality for the vast majority of garment sector workers is that their wages are set so low that they and they and their families are trapped in a cycle of poverty, unable to afford basic food, water, shelter, clothing, power, healthcare and education. And all so that we in the Western world can buy cheap clothing.
This week I had the pleasure of meeting a man who is doing something about this terrible situation in a most extraordinary way. James Bartle is the founder of Outland Denim, an organisation dedicated to crafting uniquely made, premium quality denim jeans using the finest sustainably certified European denim while offering employment and training opportunities to young women rescued from human slavery and sexual exploitation.
In short, his company is part of a global movement towards encouraging a more ethical, responsible fashion industry. When you buy Outland Denim jeans, you know that absolutely nobody was exploited at any point in the creation of those jeans. They’re ethically made. And they’re also the most comfortable jeans you’ll ever wear. I know this because I bought a pair a few days ago and haven’t stopped wearing them since!
I recorded a podcast with James that I hope you’ll all have a listen to (you can listen to it on my website, or here on iTunes). James as an incredibly inspiring man who is literally changing the world one pair of jeans at a time.
I said to James at the end of our chat:
“Once you understand where your clothes come from, you have no choice but to shop ethically. Otherwise, you’re no better than the slavedriver. You’re no better than the bad guy”.
Don’t be the bad guy. Think before you shop.
There’s a lot of great companies out there who are doing what they can to improve wages for their workers – according to the www.behindthebarcode.org.au website, brands like Cotton On, H&M and Kmart and more are joining the global movement towards wage improvements for their workers, which is great.
But if you want to do right by your fellow man and support a company that is literally rescuing people from poverty whilst also making the most comfortable jeans I’ve ever put my legs into, you really should check out OUTLAND DENIM
These jeans are changing the world. And you can be part of that change, just by buying a pair.