You're shopping online for your little one and come across a cute sundress that would be perfect for that birthday party next weekend. Interested, you check the price, and find that it only costs $9.50! You're not sure if it's a steal or if this means there's something wrong. Before you add to cart, consider these questions below to get a better sense of why you might want to think twice.
What material is the garment made of?
The first thing to check before buying a garment is its material. Garments sold at extremely low prices are typically made out of poor-quality textiles. One popular choice is polyester, a synthetic fabric that is made from plastic and non-breathable as a result: it readily traps heat and moisture, often causing skin irritations. Polyester has a very damaging impact on the environment: not only is it produced using enormous amounts of fossil fuels, but it also sheds microplastics every time it's washed, which spread widely into the ecosystem, polluting the ocean and harming the marine life that eventually end up in our food web or even on our plates.
What does the manufacturing process look like?
To make the garments look appealing while sticking to low cost, it is not uncommon that manufacturers take short-cuts and use chemicals such as toxic textile dyes to make the colours saturated and appear more vibrant. Not only are these chemicals heavy pollutants, but they also stay in the garments and may later be absorbed into the skin. This is particularly worrisome for young children whose skin is more delicate than adults' - thus more likely to retain these chemicals that could be detrimental to their health and development.
How are they treating their workers?
Aside from skimping on material and manufacturing, the workers making these garments are also often subjected to exploitation. They might be paid very low wages but made to work long hours under harsh conditions with no assurance of their basic rights.
At Sea Apple, we focus one the quality of our garments and make conscientious choices every step of the way to ensure that our products reach the highest standard. We work with organic material, source our fabrics from world-renowned institutions such as Liberty, and choose to engage GOTS-certified factories that prevent the use of any harmful chemicals. Not only does GOTS guarantee that our products will be made organically, but it also provides the necessary protection to workers, including fair wages and a safe working environment.
When garments have suspiciously low prices, companies have likely compromised on the quality and ethics of their production to cut down on the cost. While they might seem like a bargain, these garments have hidden consequences that could seriously hurt the health of your loved ones. So before you get too excited, run through these questions and check for any red flags!
Achlim, Y. (2022, September 26). Just How Bad is Polyester? One Green Planet. Retrieved October 31, 2022, from https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/just-how-bad-is-polyester/
Nguyen, L. (2022, October 10). Fast Fashion: The Danger of Sweatshops. Earth.Org. Retrieved October 31, 2022, from https://earth.org/sweatshops/
Pozdneacov, O. (2020, February 3). The polyester problem; what plastic fabrics are doing to your skin, hair and body. Silq Rose. Retrieved October 31, 2022, from https://silqrose.com/blogs/journal/the-polyester-problem-what-plastic-fabrics-are-doing-to-your-skin-hair-and-body#:~:text=Unlike%20natural%20fabrics%2C%20polyester%20doesn,%2C%20and%20dandruff%20on%20scalp).
Wolfe, I. (2021, October 18). Textile Dyes Pollution: The Truth About Fashion's Toxic Colours. Good On You. Retrieved October 31, 2022, from https://goodonyou.eco/textile-dyes-pollution/