The story of why I quit fast fashion

‘it is now our responsibility to stop supporting a company that allows it to happen’

Let me take you back in time. It’s 2016, life is both easier and harder (my mental health sucked, but there were no pandemics). It’s spring time, it has just started being warm outside again. I’m taking what I hope is my last economics class. H&M has just had another scandal about how their seamstresses are severely underpaid.  

I’m in the first row, to the left next to the window. We are in one of the nicer classrooms, with high tables and chairs. They are all a greyish black. I’m wearing my obnoxious neon green blouse, it was made in Italy. The first page of our economics book is the story of how a white dress is made. Beginning with the cotton farmers, who get close to no money and work with harmful chemicals. Next is the fabric workers and seamstresses, both who also get close to no money and work in harmful factories. Then it is the transportation, the seller and the profit. In the end the dress is bought by a girl who is about to graduate, for a low sum of money, ie, around 300 kr. The majority of the money goes to the company selling the dress, not the people who made it. 

Our first lesson is a debate in responsibility. Is it the companys’ responsibility, the manufacturers? Or is the responsibility ours, the consumers? Since the H&M scandal became public literally days before our lesson, it quickly became what the debate revolved around. I say “Because we now know how badly the workers are treated, it is now our responsibility to stop supporting a company that allows it to happen. It is our responsibility to stay away from H&M until they fix the problem.”

I am not capable of saying something and then backtracking. It is not in my character. And since I had said it was our responsibility, I had to act responsible, thus I stopped with H&M. Eventually that stop spread to all other fast fashion companies, because even if there had been no news scandals about them there is no way to sell clothes that cheap without exploitation. We all know it, so for me to boycott H&M and not Zara would be hypocritical. 

During this time I was spending a lot of time with my grandmother, and a lot of that time was in thrift stores, so I had few problems with finding clothes that hadn’t recently been mass manufactured. It also helped that I had a good base of clothes, and that my feet stopped growing early. I still have and use socks from third grade. (They are great, the names of the weekdays are underneath, so when we had a spelling test on the weekday I simply wore the Wednesday socks and cheated.) Of course I will eventually have to buy new socks, just like I buy new underwear, workout clothes and pajamas. Since I’m still a poor student these things are bought in fast fashion stores, I do not get them second hand (even I have limits). But eventually I will be buying all of my clothes in a sustainable way, from places where I know no women have been exploited to make them. I look forward to that day. There are tons of great companies, so if you can support them instead of fast fashion, do it. 

So, that is the story. Nothing to do with the environment, just solidarity to women.

Enola Holmes and the gift that is letting teenagers play teenagers

I loved Enola Holmes so much.

The worst part was that it was only a movie, not a TV series as I have learned that many people, including my father, thought. I knew it was a movie from the beginning, but I still think that it would have made a great series. Partly because I wanted to spend more than two hours with Enola. Partly because I think that it would have been good for the story. It would have meant more time to develop the side characters and Enola would have gotten more time to do detection.

From time to time I would look at Millie Bobby Brown and think: She looks so young. Then I would get overjoyed. She’s a sixteen year old playing a sixteen year old!! Do you know how few shows I have watched during my teen years, where the actors were actually my age? Way too few, and I did not know how much I had wanted it until now. It made me tear up, multiple times.    

To be honest I do not think that there is any reason to cast people in their twenties to play highschoolers. I know that the common answer is that it is easier for filmmakers, because child workers have to follow different laws, among others I think they aren’t allowed work for too many days in a row. And like, I get that, but I’m a teenager and an adult. If the role calls for a teenager and they don’t want to bother following extra regulations, just cast someone that is eighteen to nineteen. It is not perfect, but it is way better than having actors in their late twenties playing a sixteen year old. 

When I was twelve maybe, I  watched a lot of The Vampire Diaries. The main character, Elena, is supposed to be seventeen. Nina Dobrev was twenty one when the first episode aired. The same goes for most of the rest of the cast, although the men playing vampires are closer to thirty than twenty. To be fair, I have no idea how old they were supposed to have been when being turned into vampires. Anyway, twelve year old me got very high expectation of how I and my classmates would look when we were seventeen. No one lived up to it, because guess what? We looked like seventeen year olds, not twenty somethings. My skin wasn’t clear, we did not wear new outfits everyday. Life was (is) still awkward. 

And my last reason: Why even make movies and shows that take place in highschool? If you just want to make a film about young attractive people dating each other, not studying, having absent parents and drinking excessively,  just have them be in college. College means freedom to do all kinds of weird shit without it being too unrealistic. High school sucks enough anyway, so make high school shows to inspire teenagers and realistically portray it. Save the odd shit for college. 

Enola Holmes was wonderful, and correct representation is once again necessary. It is almost like we like connecting to people like us on the screen. Here’s to hoping for more movies with Millie Bobby Brown, an actual teenager.

Growing up in a dystopia

What kind of economic growth is worth my future? Can you put a price on that?

It feels a bit weird to grow up in the beginning of a dystopia, knowing that I can do nothing to stop it and that those that can stop it, does nothing. 

I can’t even remember when they started teaching us about climate change. But I do remember being told not to take the car, because it was bad for the environment. I must have been at least eight years from being able to get a driving licence, what the fuck were we supposed to do? 

I should not feel guilty when buying something new. I should not have to feel bad about having to take the car as much as I do. I should not yearn for when I can move away from home and stop having plastic packaging around. I should not feel apprehensive thinking about what my future holds. 

My friend sometimes jokes about dying young, because the world will be too fucked to live in, when we are fifty. Sometimes I don’t think she’s joking. Sometimes I agree with her.   

Back to school. I don’t think that there is one subject where the environment isn’t mentioned. I’m eighteen and I’m already getting tired when they mention it. We know. You don’t have to remind us. We can’t do anything. Please don’t make me have yet another climate based project. I don’t want to debate different kinds of energy. I don’t want to read about how poor countries are affected worse than others, even though it isn’t their fault. I don’t want to live like this. Fix it!    

I hate reading about Greta Thunberg. It makes me so mad that a girl one year younger than me, has to be the face for the climate movement. It wasn’t us that fucked the world up! We should not have to be the ones to fix it. It makes me so mad that the grownups won’t take their responsibility. Fix what you wronged!

Also, fuck Lyskekil! What kind of economic growth is worth my future? Can you put a price on that? 

I once complained to my mother about grownups not doing the right thing, and she told me that idealism belongs to the youth and that grownups become cynical. But mother dear, I have been told about the world’s independent doom since I started school. I am as cynical as it gets. Still, I refuse to give up, I will not let the greed and comfort of adults destroy the world. I refuse to go down any other way than fighting.