This past weekend, in case you missed it, we launched The Fair Project. A challenge to think before you purchase and pledge to make fair and ethical purchasing choices for a couple of weeks, a month, 3 months, 6 months or more. Over the course of 2017 we are going to be following Jaci and Jenny as they have made it their resolution to purchase fair this next year. Every month we will hear an update from them on their challenges and what they are learning on this Fair journey.
The journey of learning about ethical shopping and purchasing can be yours too. You can join us by taking The Fair Pledge and telling your friends about it, donating to Stories as we are committed to continue to purchase fair as an organization and spread awareness about labor trafficking continually as well as learning about our individual role in contributing to and fighting slavery worldwide.
I’m Jenny. I’m a nineteen-year-old first-year sophomore in college, studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Northwestern–St. Paul. I love Jesus and people, and He has given me a passion for using my words to tell other people’s stories. I first learned about human trafficking when I was in eighth grade. I was appalled that slavery still existed in this day and age, and even more shocked to find out that it was happening in my own backyard. The thought of another person with a heart and a soul and a story, made in the image of God, was being sold for their body, being used like an object, broke my heart.
It wasn’t until about the last year that I realized the role I played in modern-day slavery. No, I wasn’t supporting pimps and allowing twelve-year-old girls to be prostituted, but I found out that human trafficking is much more than that. I found out that my love for shopping was robbing men, women, and children across the world of their dignity and forcing them into unfair and inhumane working conditions. The clothing industry is one of the largest players in the worldwide game of the sale and purchase of human beings. I couldn’t live with the fact that my desire for that $10 sundress at Target, easily purchased without second thought, supported this industry. Towards the end of 2016, I decided to make a change.
I began only shopping at consignment stores. Buying clothes secondhand slows the demand for new ones to be made, which slows the industry. I became more observant of what I was buying, where it was made, and how little it cost. If a dress only costs $10 after the store has marked it up from the original factory price, how much did it cost to make, and how much of that money did the worker see? I found myself asking “do I really need that? Is it worth supporting unfair labor for something that will just make my overstuffed closet more full?” These questions quickly squelched my desire to buy whatever item I’d been eyeing.
I’ve never been huge on New Years’ resolutions; they’re often too vague and don’t last. However, for 2017, I knew that I wanted to be intentional about my purchases. My resolution had two parts: first, I would try to limit how much clothing I purchased in the first place. As a college student living in the dorm and sharing a closet with two other girls, I don’t have much space be putting new clothes every month as it is. Secondly, when the need for new clothing arises, I will continue in my trend of only buying secondhand (excluding socks and underwear, but if anyone knows where I can purchase those fair-trade, let me know!). This doesn’t only apply to clothes, shoes, and accessories, but to nearly everything in my life, because not only does buying secondhand slow the human trafficking industry, but it also reduces how much stuff ends up in landfills. Oftentimes we get rid of perfectly good items–be they clothes, furniture, electronics, or really anything else–because of small, fixable damages or simply because we found something new and better. If we tried to fix the damages or gave them to someone who didn’t mind, we wouldn’t need to constantly buy new things. Our reliance on convenience only fuels the system.
I would love to see you embark on this journey of justice and simplicity with me. Over the next few months, I’m going to begin transitioning to more natural and fair-trade beauty products (check out The Body Shop), as well as making some of my own! I will keep you all updated as to what works and what doesn’t. Be conscious of your purchases. Know where your items are from. Slow the system. Dare to live simply so others may simply live.
Share with your Friends by grabbing the image below.
#theFairproject #theFairpledge @storiesfoundation