BBiohazard writes: "Would Unrefinery please comment on the 'Slow Fashion' movement? I really want to buy ridiculously low priced stuff from Zara and Uniqlo, but people are making me feel bad about it. Should I feel bad? If I spend $200 on a hand-made in the USA t-shirt will it really last me forever? I hate what happened in Bangladesh, but I still want me some cheap clothes :("

Answer: It's a noble sentiment, and if it were only that easy then sure—if it were 100% certain that changing buying habits would save lives we'd all do it. But many, many factors muddy the waters, including the following:
  1. Plenty of luxury goods products are almost completely assembled in cheap overseas factories, then shipped to Europe where a handle or logo is attached and a "Made in Italy" tag is added. So there's no real knowing the conditions under which even high-end items were made.
  2. In response to the recent Bangladesh tragedy, it looks as though an honest attempt at making real improvements to the lot of Indian garment factory workers is under way. Companies like Zara and H&M are putting their money where their mouths are by not just monitoring safety conditions but underwriting necessary improvements.
  3. Some of our favourite affordable clothes of all time were responsibly hand-made in places like India by skilled workers in safe conditions.
  4. There are sweatshops in America too.
  5. American Apparel blows monkey chunks.
Bottom line: try not to worry about it.

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