Become a Responsible Clothing Consumer

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There are many things you can do to support garment workers around the world. Some are more direct than others and its up to you to decide what you plan to do in your own life and community.

For starters, you can consult the Shop with a Conscience Consumer Guide next time you need to buy a t-shirt or shoes. This guide is full of companies that respect a worker's voice on the job and pay a living wage. We also have a wholesale guide for those looking to buy items in bulk. For more info on the criteria used to determine which companies are listed in the Consumer Guide, read more here.

For those looking to decrease you footprint on this earth, consider buying second hand. You can consult a phonebook or online directory to find the shops in your neighborhood.

For those creative types, try making your own clothing. It can seem like a daunting task but just imagine how well your clothes will fit when they are created only with your measurements in mind. Keep in mind that fabrics can also be made in sweatshops so it wouldn't hurt to ask the sales person what they know about the labor conditions at the mills and factories used to source the fabric.

When you want to go beyond your own buying habits, you can start a discussion in your own community. ILRF's close ally SweatFree Communities has a step by step guide on how you can start to educate your neighbors and take on institutional purchasing like when your city buys police uniforms.

Sometimes, ILRF receives calls from people wanting to start their own clothing business and they want to source from a responsible factory. Check out our guide on labor rights in China and a list of questions that you could ask a supplier to determine whether they really have thought about workers rights in their factories.