Fashion throughout time has had a profound effect on the expression of its wearers and freedom of its makers. Fashion presents individuals and cultures with the ability to showcase a wide range of artistic talent and human experience. It is through fashion that we live art, live the stories and attitudes of unique artisans, live off and display the natural fibers of the Earth, and all at once, unite together in shared community.

In today’s culture of fast fashion, low-cost, low-quality clothing is a dangerous and even deadly trend. According to Made in a Free World, a startling 29 million people are forced into slavery each year, with the majority working to supply raw materials for the textile and fashion industry. The fashion industry, a $2.5 trillion production, is also ranked as one of the highest polluting industries on Earth, second only to the oil industry. The average American alone trashes approximately 68 pounds of textiles per year, usually consisting of fabrics that take decades to decompose. Furthermore, 25% of the world’s chemicals are used for textile production, not including the insurmountable amount of water pollution tied back to the fashion industry.  

Ultimately, fast fashion comes at a cost much larger than the attractive price of a $7.99. With the growing demand of shorter production time and cheaper products, the system exploits labor and resources with no impunity. In essence, an art form that is meant to connect humans together ultimately weakens our communities and strains our planet. 

However, there are ways to correct the devastating human and environmental costs of fast fashion. In taking a stand against unsustainable fashion, we must see ethical fashion as sustainable fashion.  By investing in better quality, ethically-made clothing and products, consumers can participate in a global movement towards slowing down fashion.  

Slow fashion, in contrast to fast fashion, is timeless and made to reflect the artists who designed and created these long-lasting pieces. Though they may come at a higher price tag, the craftsmanship of these products makes them built to last, stopping the cycle of inexpensive, poorly made clothing that quickly ends up in landfills. By choosing slow fashion, we refuse to perpetuate the state of impoverished factory workers, whose liberties and design abilities are drastically limited. These purchases reflect the belief that artisans’ lives matter and the earth matters.  A belief that suggests buying fewer, better-quality products is not only a better fashion and lifestyle choice, but a morally sound one.  

At the heart of fashion is an art form that is meant to bring together diverse cultures through equal exchange. At Mercado Global, we are proud to say that each of our bags are uniquely composed of fabrics true to the artisans that make them, hand-woven from 2,400 year old Mayan traditions that celebrate a rich heritage and dynamic culture.  In supporting our mission with your purchase, you’re not only serving to aid and invest in rural indigenous women’s entrepreneurship, but you’re also supporting business practices that protect the lives of others and this earth.