American Made / Environmetally Conscious / Fashion Chicago / Made in the USA / One of a Kind Show / Trends

The actual cost of a product

International anti child labor day (June 12th) is just another reminder of the importance of supporting american-made products. Before working at a small business, I never realized the importance of shopping American made. It’s not easy to be American made, its hard work and dedication to the brand and our customers. The honest transparency of production and commitment to quality is worth it.

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Brynn and Julie at the One of a Kind show featuring handcrafted artisan goods

As a college student it’s hard to spend money conservatively, which leads so many others like myself to shopping efficiently, rather than effectively. It seems much easier in the moment to buy a $5 shirt, not thinking any further than the next outfit to plan. Being a fashion major I learn about sourcing and production and I realize the importance of quality over quantity. Not enough people realize what goes on behind the scenes of the seemingly glamorous world of fast fashion. And while fast fashion repeatedly allows you to stay up to date with the latest fads without breaking the bank, the vicious trend cycle has lasting harmful effects that cost more in the long run.

I’ve come to find out that child labor is a very real problem in today’s world. And while 80% of consumers prefer buying made in USA products only 60% are willing to pay more for these American made products. The fast fashion big box retailers dominate the market, increasing the demand for and enabling the mass amount of child labor.

I think the key points that consumers don’t realize is:

1) Most of the goods made overseas are made in regions that don’t have any laws in place protecting their workers from the frequent exploitation that takes place.

2) Children are among the easiest of the population to manipulate and exploit, without any laws in place, these children fall victim to deadly conditions, intensive exhausting work, and vigorous hours.

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3) These conditions are more wide spread than you want to believe.

4) Cheap materials mixed with cheap labor, makes for a cheap product.

So the next time you find something you love, stop and take a look. Understand what your hard earned money is supporting.

Besides, shopping American Made reduces our carbon footprint and lowers pollution, creates jobs, and results in boosting the economy as a whole.

At the end of the day, if the price tag appears to be cheaper, the cost comes with the environment, the economy, and the quality of life.

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