I recently read an interesting article from Helsingin sanomat newspapers NYT-liite. The article told a story about a 24-year old shopaholic girl, who kept a diary of her purchases for one week. In the article she tells that she has so much clothes, that she doesn’t even have enough room for them in her apartment, so she had to take part of her clothes and shoes to her parents house. She considers that shopping is her hobby and really fun way to spend time (even nights). In the one studied week she spend 526 euros in new clothes and shoes and this was in off-season in October and she says that after getting her monthly salary, everything that has left over her mandatory expenses, she spends on clothes and shoes. In the article she tells that she isn’t so interested in brands or quality of the clothes, she just buys the image that they represent. The interviewer asks her what she thinks about buying clothes that are made in Bangladesh or other low-cost country. She answers that because the garment is already made and is on sale in the shop, it isn’t so bad if I buy it. Damage is already done. The comments that this article and interview got were crushing. http://nyt.fi/20130913-himoshoppaaja-piti-nytille-ostospaeivaekirjaa-perusviikolla-paloi-500-euroa/
After reading this story, I got a bit angry and my first thought was, this girl has no idea what she’s doing. Haven’t she heard of ethical issues of low-cost productions, over production, climate change, waste and chemical problems or recycling?
We are all living in a disposable culture. We’ve created a consumer culture that relies on underpaying employees in other cultures. Things are so cheaply made that we don’t think twice about throwing them out and buying more. Shirts and pants are now so cheap that we could probably just trash our dirty laundry every day, buy replacements, and barely damage our bank account at all. I believe that many products are intentionally manufactured to be temporary. Continuous buying of new garments and gadgets keeps the entrepreneurs happy, but wastes enormous amounts of raw materials and energy.
Interesting fact is that, the number of clothes that UFF sorting center got from beginning of year 2000 has now tripled. When year 1990 clothes that arrived to UFF was 820 000 kilos, the corresponding number was 10 years later almost 4 million kilos. Last year the amount raised over 9 million kilos of clothes. Most of the sorting centers clothes come from the capital Helsinki. In the worst years, over 40% of clothes is just waste. Textile piles in landfills are getting unbearable. One Finnish person throws approximately 20 kilos of clothes away every year. http://www.hs.fi/kaupunki/Keräysastioihin+päätyy+yhdeksän+miljoonaa+kiloa+vaatteita/a1379061054730
I’m sure we all buy things that we don’t’ need and consume more than necessary. We all buy clothes that are made in Far East like Bangladesh, which is almost impossible avoid because over 80% of clothes that are sold in Finland, come from Far East. After thinking about it and reading the judgmental comments of the article, I got a feeling that this girl just got thrown under a truck in this article and the whole waste problem is blamed on her, just by giving her face to all of this.