While I was still in college, my eyes were opened to the reality of modern day slavery. As a business major, the application for me personally was clear: use my career to support ethical production and consumption, and be an advocate to influence consumer demand in way that does not cause harm towards the origin of the supply chain.
The fashion industry, the world’s 3rd largest industry, is one of the primary creators of many negative externalities we see socially, both from a human rights standpoint and an environmental standpoint. Fast fashion in particular (both in industry practice and as a consumer mindset of ownership) is especially harmful.
If you’ve heard me rant about fast fashion before (linked post circa my college blog in 2012), or if you’ve ever gone shopping with me, you know that even informed, passionate people struggle with the practice of purchasing ethical fashion (OH TARGET CLEARANCE RACK, YOU COMPEL ME SO.) It’s a complex issue to say the least. Back to the connection of modern day indenturehood, “The purchasing practices of Western garment brands have a huge influence, positive or negative, on the lives of garment workers in clothing factories.” (Lotte Schuurman of the Fair Wear Foundation). Our decisions matter tremendously! That’s an exciting opportunity to me. Because if we can leveraging Western buying power for good, we can produce transformative results within this very complex issue.
And that brings me to the topic of this post: a change.
Beginning this August, I’m embarking on a PhD program at the University of Arkansas, where I will study sustainable consumption behavior, marketing, and public policy. Using an interdisciplinary approach, I will be able to work with a variety of partners (both inside and outside of academia) to explore solutions to social issues in regards to consumerism.
Change comes from several angles.
As I said in my first post, my hope for this platform is that it fosters a process of idea creation. This blog will continue to focus on consumption related issues; fast fashion is just one example that I am passionate about.
For the last few years I have thought a lot about the work that I want to do throughout my life and about the things I might want “to be”:
A continuous learner
A change maker
…To see these wrapped into one opportunity has made me just giddy. It reaffirms that timing is everything and patience is a worthy pursuit.
To building the new!