We have all had that moment. You are out at brunch or meeting up with a friend, you sit down and ask ‘so what did you do this week’. Quickly, their eyes light up.
They start telling you about this thing they watched and how, ‘you need to watch’ and ‘it will change the way you think’. You know the same old lines as though they just discovered ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Suits’. They speak so energetically about it, you are left wondering did they just have too many espresso shots before coming out (and should we cancel the coffee they just ordered) or is it actually that good? After a five minute recap, they almost forget to tell you name of it because they are so excited to share their newly learned raw facts and the ‘omg’ moments. But eventually they give you that secret ingredient. Its name!
‘The True Cost’.
Just imagine what ‘Supersize Me’ did to the Fast Food industry, this feature is doing to Fast Fashion. You don’t need to check the Rotten Tomatoes score. Let me save you time. This one is worth it! And if you haven’t heard of Supersize Me or Fast Fashion, I’m not sure what rock you have been under, but if you can escape the world that well, I have one question for you. Can I rent that rock from you every so often? I feel like I could use a break every so often.
Now, I know this blog is fairly new, so my power to give direction and actually have people listen is somewhat limited, but I need you to go do something for me. Watch this documentary…watch it now if you have time (its only 90 minutes). Literally, minimize this tab right now and watch it. It's on Netflix. If you don’t have an account, find a friend that does. It should be mandatory to watch this before you can earn money and spend it.
Now the old saying goes if you can’t say it better yourself, don’t try. So with that is mind….“The True Cost is a story about clothing. It’s about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?”
And to learn who is paying for our $20 jeans, the documentary explores the garment factories of Cambodia and Bangladesh and the cotton fields of Texas and India. It shows you how the big name fast fashion businesses are squeezing third world countries and people are dying because of it. Not just one or two….but thousands.
We felt compelled to write about this because, honestly, I cried 3 to 4 times while watching it. The rawness and devastation really hit me and I was left with this feeling of total breathlessness. Funnily enough, my next feeling was that I just wanted to tell someone about what I had learned. I could finally understand my friend and confirm they were not a victim of a pre-brunch caffeine overdose. They just wanted to share this shocking story. I think part of my feelings were attached to the fact that we run a fashion/clothing label. That is what Kulani Kinis is. We will always move forward ensuring we don’t ever sell our souls for dollars.
Anyone that follows Kulani Kinis, knows we are about as fast as a snail at releasing new items. The way we work is to build a collection in advance and bring out those styles which are then sold for over 12 months. Our swimwear is literally like artwork, we don't think it should be discarded after a few wears. We want girls to keep it forever, and for it to represent a lifestyle to girls, so it should be treasured and cared for. I think that is what is inspiring about swimwear at the moment as it seems to be one of the last items of clothing that represents a lifestyle to girls. In the same way that a suit represents success to men, swimwear represents freedom, happiness and health to women. And because of that women can identify a simple passion for it; much in the same way that a young man smiles while fronting up in his new Harvey Specter swag.
In the interest of full disclosure I would like to disclose that we don’t (I repeat don’t) act like a diva with our manufacturer. They are like our family and we have an amazing relationship with them. For us, making swimwear or any other fashion piece was never about the profit so we don’t let it control our decisions. We want to make something that makes other women smile and that is what lights up our lives. We did it for the passion and feelings of what clothing & swimwear can inspire and our promise is that we never stray away from it.
So why did we write this…well I guess it’s easier than taking you all to brunch! The simple answer is that we really just wanted to create awareness of the issue. And now…we want you go out to coffee and tell your friends that you read a crazy blog post and then watched a documentary and it totally changed your life! Maybe you make better choices because of it, maybe you don’t but at least you and they know about it. You can’t ever fix a problem without first knowing it exists.