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Ethical clothing advocate insists “fast-fashion does not uphold human dignity”

After being a fashion intern with Verily Magazine, and discovering more about the fast-fashion industry, Lizzy Rich's idea about clothing changed. She learned of the growing gap between the industry and Catholic Social Teaching, leading her to modify her shopping habits.

The fashion Instagramer now demonstrates this change on her blog, which gives tips for thrift shopping, reusing old clothes and shopping at ethical stores. While this choice has led to a more limited wardrobe, she says her creativity shines through even more.   

Ethical Fashion Advocate
“Ethical fashion is interesting, because most people just see it as the store where you shop, where you buy things from, or looking at the person who made it and how much they are paid, but there's so much more to it. Ethical fashion actually starts with the crops. It starts with how the cotton is made. Are they using pesticides? Are the farmers who run these places affected by the way we are growing these crops? And then it goes to how are we shipping things?”

According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, almost three-fifths of all clothes are sent to landfills within the same year of making them. Additionally, since 2000, the number of clothes produced each year has doubled, making the industry worth a whopping $2.4 trillion.

Yet, all this consumerism doesn't exactly line up with Catholic teaching. 

Ethical Fashion Advocate
“One of the four pillars of Catholic Social Teaching is this concept of human dignity and upholding human dignity in everything that we do. By looking at the way fast-fashion is affecting our world today, we can just see that across the whole plain it's not upholding the human dignity.”

This is also seen by how the industry plays off the fears and insecurities of consumers, instilling jealousy and the sensation that they are “always behind” the latest fashion trend.

However, Lizzy's main concern is the Church's involvement in the industry.  

Ethical Fashion Advocate
“I have not seen a lot of interest in the Catholic realm as a whole, looking into fast-fashion. I haven't really seen it on a mass scale and I think that that's something that is really missing in our Catholic sphere today.”

Lizzy says changing to ethical fashion has been a challenge, since it involves limiting one's wardrobe and shopping less. However, it's a step she is willing to take now to propel a change in fast-fashion in the future.