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Buy clothes in November and keep a clear conscience

The claims that fast fashion chains like SHEIN are pro-Palestinian join the findings of investigations into the terrible working conditions in their factories and the enormous environmental damage they cause. So where should you buy clothes in this year's "shopping month"? And how will this help the Israeli economy?

By Dr. Mittal Pelag Mizrahi, Angle - news agency for science and the environment

The reputation of chains like SHEIN has been joined by a new accusation: anti-Israelism. Illustration: Hotpot
The reputation of chains like SHEIN has been joined by a new accusation: anti-Israelism. Illustration: Hotpot

As a sustainable fashion researcher, "Shopping month" November It is usually the time of the year when I write columns urging you and yours not to shop at SHEIN, or Zara, or any other fast fashion chain - but it seems that this year there is no need for that. A new accusation was added to the already bad reputation of these networks: anti-Israelism. Given the fact that these are chains whose oil has been linked to appalling working conditions and extensive damage to the environment, these accusations are not surprising. November 2023 is an opportunity for us to behave differently, for the sake of the environment - and for the sake of the Israeli economy.

Shortly after the cursed Shabbat, fashion consumers began calling for a boycott of Shane due to alleged support for the Palestinian side of the war: what began In the sale of Palestinian flags (when the Israeli flags were not found on the site), he proceeded to the decision to cancel free shipping to Israel and to suspend campaigns of Israeli female influencers, and it came to the point that customers reported receiving packages with masking tape in red and green colors - who suspiciously reminded them of the colors of the Palestinian flag. It should be noted that Sha'in Hang the blame In "logistical challenges" and "changing inventory", and each of these things separately does not necessarily express support for Hamas - but the combination of them, given the timing, creates a suspicious image.

By the way, Shane is not the only one suspected of supporting the Palestinian side in the war. The Zara chain was also put on the spot after it uploaded a photo of a model wearing it to Instagram In the colors of the Palestinian flag, so to speak: a black sweater and a large green scarf on a red background. This is in view of the history of selling a striped shirt with Yellow badges A bag in Indian embroidery with a swastika. To be fair, it should be mentioned that the color combination of red and green is linked to Christmas, for which the November promotions are held; That the swastika is a very ancient Indian symbol still used in the East today to represent good luck and that American sheriffs wear shirts with a yellow star. But the truth is that it doesn't really matter.

Fast, exploitative and polluting fashion

To be honest, for those of us who follow with concern the environmental consequences of Shine, as of any other fast fashion chain, their possible affiliation with the forces of evil is not particularly surprising given their conduct in aspects unrelated to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. Thus, in 2022 it was published debriefing of the British Channel 4 who found in various factories that produce clothes for Shane very problematic working conditions: work of up to 18 hours a day, very low pay, only one rest day a month (at best), punishment in the form of an offset of two-thirds of the daily wage if a mistake was made in an item of clothing and more.

And to be completely honest, there was no real surprise in this investigation either. The fashion industry has long been known as one of the most polluting and exploitative industries. She is responsible for production 8.6-4 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions (more than the total emissions of France, Germany and Great Britain combined), for use in132 million tons of coal every year, to the pollution of 9,000 cubic meters of water per year, and it has even been linked to cases of Child exploitation on a large scale.

The truth is that the prices of clothes today are too low to represent their true cost - both in relation to the cost of workers and in relation to the natural resources that fashion companies use for their production. In other words, the cause of the ills listed here is the fast fashion model - the same model invented by Zara in the late XNUMXs, which includes the sale of cheap clothes in large quantities in collections that change dozens of times a year, and which opened the door to endless polluting and exploitative chains that came later.

Especially now: wear blue and white

If so, the interesting question in my eyes, as a researcher of sustainable fashion and as an Israeli, is not why not shop at Shein, Zara or any other fast fashion chain - but where to shop? One option is, of course, not to buy at all, and not to accumulate more clothes that will soon be thrown away and changed to environmental damage themselves. And another possibility is the point where the environment and Zionism come together: local Israeli fashion stores. One of the prominent alternatives to fast fashion is local independent designers - and these days, that answer feels especially true. The Israeli fashion industry is blessed with many independent designers who represent Israeli creativity, adhere to fair dealing and produce small and inherently sustainable collections. True, these collections are significantly more expensive than buying in Shein - but you can buy them and remain with a clear conscience.

Considering that 80 percent of the time we wear 20 percent of our closet, and that 85 percent of the clothes that are purchased are thrown away in less than a year due to poor quality and too fast change of trends - buying a smaller amount of clothes, at a higher price that goes directly to the pockets of Israeli designers, is not just another way to think about our closet, to slow down and enjoy a wardrobe Accurate where all the clothes are of high quality - but also simply a particularly successful solution that allows us all to win, together: Israel and the environment alike.

Dr. Mittal Pelag Mizrahi is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Economics at Yale University. She researches sustainable fashion, regulation and textile waste.

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