It's no secret that the world is growing increasingly fast-paced. Gone are the days of catalogs and supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford, and say hello to the new age of influencers and online shopping. Admittedly, fast isn't necessarily synonymous with bad; yet, many wonder if this sudden influx of inexpensive brands attempting to duplicate high fashion may actually dilute the industry.
While I'm a gal who loves a good dupe, when shopping for staple items such as shoes, jeans, and especially jewelry, sometimes less isn't more... it's just less. Take Fashion Nova, for instance, the clothing line made famous by Grammy award winning artist Cardi B in early 2018. It seems like every picture you swipe past and celebrity you follow now has an affiliate link, and while there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is boosting sales, the question is, should it?
Human rights and smart consumerism conversations are on the rise; doesn't it seem contradictory that these brands are so trendy? According to a 2019 New York Times article, "in four years, Fashion Nova's garments were found in 50 US Department of Labor probes of factories that pay less than the federal minimum wage or don't pay overtime"...Mercedes Cortes told The Times she earned $270 a week, on average, making Fashion Nova clothes in a factory near the brand's offices in Vernon, California. She was reportedly paid a few cents for each piece of a shirt she sewed at the factory, which she left in 2016. "There were cockroaches. There were rats," Cortes, 56, told the paper. "The conditions weren't good. Not to mention that before the brand's popularization, they reportedly produced over 80% of their product in Los Angeles, whereas now, they manufacture less than half.
Aside from the all too obvious ethical issues, despite their incredibly low prices, is a $15 bracelet that is almost guaranteed to break within days and turn your wrist green worth it? A pair of jeans, rife with pulls, and mass-produced? A brand that is only inexpensive because it's outsourced and forged as cheaply as possible? What about a necklace manufactured by an underpaid child? Do you start to see what I'm saying?
American-made brands such as Tiffany and Co, John Medeiros, Harry Winston, and Chopard, to name a few, guarantee longevity, quality, ethical standards, and positively contribute to American jobs and the economy! Would you rather pay a little more for pieces that last a lifetime or spend a lifetime buying pieces? Ultimately, that's your discretion, but when shopping, consider making a one-time investment not only for yourself but also for sustainability and financial and ethical reasons.