Here’s how your $10 t-shirt is made


Fast fashion is a business model where companies produce as many clothes as possible as cheaply as possible. While the model’s human rights and environmental implications have been debated for decades, recent online trends suggest that people displaying mass-market clothing may be on the way. Let’s break down what it is and its impact.

The woman is holding a shopping bag.

While a $10 t-shirt may seem like a good deal, it’s worth considering what it costs to make.

By Bath MacDonald of Re: News

It’s a fast fad where companies can sell as many clothes as cheaply as possible by making them work in countries with more relaxed labor laws.

This can have human rights and environmental impacts at every level, from the farm where the cotton is grown for that shirt.

China produces the largest amount of cotton in the world. About 20 percent of the Uyghur community comes from the Xinjiang region, where they are forced to work on farms.

The true extent of this and other human rights and environmental issues is unknown because there is so little transparency in the industry.

The Tearfund 2021 Ethical Fashion Report found that 87% of companies do not know where their fabrics come from and only 71% know where they are produced.

File image.

What we do know is that garment workers work 10 to 16 hour days, six days a week, which is three times less than their country’s living wage.

There are 65 million garment workers in Asia and the Pacific, and most of them are women.

In the year It is estimated that 40% of clothing imported into New Zealand in 2019 is made from forced and child labour.

Teardrop expert Morgan Texton traveled to Bangladesh to interview workers at a popular brands factory.

The workers told them that verbal abuse and child labor were common in these factories.

“[They told us] Whenever there was a ruler or subordinate in the factory, they would keep the children out of their sight and the supervisors would yell at the children if they did something wrong.

Dumpsters bursting with $10 t-shirts

As fast fashion has become more common, clothing sizes have increased dramatically. Currently, it is estimated that 80 billion clothes are produced worldwide every year.

Fast fashion has created a culture of flipping and wasting around clothes, Texton said.

People own about half as much clothing as they did two decades ago, and an estimated two-thirds of that clothing ends up in landfills each year.

Around 35 million kilograms of clothing is thrown away in New Zealand every year, accounting for 9% of Auckland’s landfill, which is expected to rise to 14% by 2040.

As well as waste, slowly rotting clothes also create more emissions.

New Zealand’s combined textile waste adds up to 144,770 flights between Auckland and London.

“Clothes are very expensive to make, so if it’s cheap for you, someone somewhere is paying the real cost,” Texton said.

So when deciding whether or not to buy the t-shirt, think about how much you value it.

Originally published by

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