This is Elaine Giles. Elaine is a PLNU alum who is passionate about art, the ocean, and has felt a deep calling towards creating a just world since she was young.
During her freshman year, she watched the Story of Stuff. She was shocked to realize just how harmful our culture of consumerism is. She learned that the narrative that she had been told her entire life was not only false, but it was also causing immense harm to our environment, and some of the lowest-income people in the world.
Her calling grew when she saw The True Cost Documentary, which further convinced her that the fashion industry was a major catalyst in the biggest injustices of our time - and very few people were talking about it.
But what was she supposed to do?
She tried to go a year without purchasing new clothes, but I felt alone and unsupported in this mission. As a college student, she couldn't afford expensive Fair Trade labels. She thrifted most of her clothes, but felt lost when it came to dilemmas like shoes, socks, swimsuits. The conversation around ethical purchasing felt limited, and it missed (many) major demographics of people.
So, there she was, a passionate 19 year old who felt a spark in her soul to begin a big conversation amongst my peers. And, from that spark (and a whole lot of poking & prodding), Wear Justice was born. With the help of others who were passionate about these issues, Elaine was able to bring this great event to PLNU's campus. During a week in April 2018, hundreds of students showed up to watch the True Cost, drink ethical beverages, repair, and swap clothes.
The fact is, the topic of ethical consumerism is a huge one. Wear Justice serves as a critical beginning of conversations that gives people tangible, supported first steps towards living more ethical and sustainable lives.
What is Elaine doing now?
Elaine is currently making and selling art through her website: Art By Elaine. Through this new medium, Elaine is committed to justice seeking and fighting for social change. When you purchase from Art By Elaine, 10% of the profits will go to the Equal Justice Initiative to support their work towards a more fair criminal justice system. In addition, Elaine uses sustainably and fairly made materials wherever possible as she continues to push for justice in the clothing industry.
Our Mission is Simple, Yet Radical.
Let's completely rethink the way we consume.
Here's the thing: the way we're making and consuming clothes right now cannot continue if we value all people and our planet. That's just the truth.
Let's look at the facts:
The fashion industry produces 10% of all humanity's carbon emissions, is the second-largest consumer of the world's water supply, and eight to 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the fashion industry, which is more than the aviation and maritime shipping industries combined.
The average American has been estimated to throw away around 82 pounds of clothes every year.
There are roughly 40 million garment workers in the world today.
The global apparel market is projected to grow in value from 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars in 2020 to about 2.25 trillion dollars by 2025.
How Can Wear Justice Change That?
Here are our 3 core beliefs to address change in the fashion industry:
It's not you,
De-emphasizing the individual.
We need to hold the fashion industry responsible for the damage it's doing to people and the planet. Although we need to take individual steps, Wear Justice seeks to put the shame on the industry - never on the individual.
Following the Buy-erarchy of Needs.
1. Use what you have
Re-thinking consumerism through community-based solutions.
If we're going to take a stand against a giant industry, vast cultural messages, and deeply-invested profiters, we're going to need to have each other. Let's work together on this!