The Power of Dress-up
I’ve loved dress up since age three. I remember tiptoeing into my closet as a child, negotiating the creaky floorboards of my room and closet. There was no need to be in my closet as there were no toys and my dress up clothes were kept elsewhere. There was, however, a dress that made me feel invincible. My mother assumed my intentions since I had been firmly told the dress was only meant for special occasions. The dress was perfect for all of my imaginary adventures, particularly Rapunzel. (My version involved me getting myself down to meet the prince. We’d then dance and head to the docks to co-caption a ship to be sailed across the sea). I spent many afternoons sneaking in to my closet to wear that dress.
My love of dress-up continued through high school and gained a whole new level of meaning as I developed health problem after health problem throughout those four years. Dressing up lifted my spirits. I may not have felt put together, but I could look put together. My health problems limited my ability to be creative in other ways, but my clothes became a canvas.
It was during high school, while I was knee-deep in environmental studies that I discovered the fashion industries' impact on the planet. My. heart. broke. It wasn’t long after that I discovered sweatshops. My parents can attest to the number of tears and meltdowns that were had once I discovered the impact irresponsibly made clothes can have on people and the planet. As someone who lives by the notion that something that builds me up should not tear someone else down, I was distraught to hear that clothes that I had worn that brought me joy, had hurt someone else.
Through the clothes we wear and the products we use, we have an opportunity, to better the lives of not just ourselves, but others and our planet. Your jeans can be made in one of the most efficient and sustainable factories on the planet where workers are paid fair, living wages and receive benefits or they can be made in a sweatshop that does damage to waterways with toxic dyes and sludge. Your power suit can empower others or enslave them.
I urge you to use each purchase as an opportunity to better our world.
1. You, like me, are human and will make mistakes. Not every purchase you make from here onward will be perfect.
2. Do not waste time worrying about past purchases.
3. Do not go on a shopping spree of epic proportions to try and save the planet, "to make everything better".
4. Work to make sustainable purchases, one purchase at a time.
May your dress up clothes empower you and those who made them.