Wear Justice Comes to PLNU April 8-12

The fashion industry is one of the most dominant forces of our current world: it helps us tell those around us who we are, it brings together beauty and design, and it displays important cultural symbols. The fashion industry also accounts for the second largest polluter in the world, creating huge amounts of waste through the constant cycle of ever-changing styles and trends, not to mention the cheap disposability of most clothing made today. Store windows in huge shopping centers boast $2 t-shirts, buy one get one free jeans, $10 dresses – but who is behind these deals? Who are the people producing these unbelievably cheap clothing items?

These are the questions Elaine Giles, sophomore intern at the Center for Justice & Reconciliation, began asking in December 2017. After learning about the harmful effects of the clothing industry on people and the environment in her freshman sociology class through the documentary The True Cost, she felt that a crucial conversation was missing about the connection between the fashion industry, poverty, and pollution. Out of this desire to bring light to the issues created by fast fashion and to amplify the voices of those victimized by the industry came Wear Justice.

Wear Justice began as that simple notion: let’s have a conversation about changing the script of consumption in a way that honors and respects the people who create our clothing. It started those crucial conversations about consumption, and highlighted simple ways to reduce impact on human trafficking in production and pollution. The fair followed the “Buy-erarchy of Needs”, which encourages consumers to first use what you already have, then borrow, swap, thrift, or make before considering purchasing any new clothing items.

Students brought hundreds of clothing items to swap with others, and everyone who brought clothes to swap left with something new to them. Fair-goers could also repair clothes, or purchase fair trade items that helped support women who had fled from trafficking in Cambodia. The event also included a fashion show featuring entirely thrifted outfits, a screening of The True Cost, and a raffle featuring fair trade items. The event was a huge success, and drew in hundreds of students and faculty. It opened up space for conversations and questions surrounding fast fashion, and created new avenues to consume consciously.

This year, Wear Justice is back and bigger than ever! Coming off of the motivation from the previous year, the Center for Justice & Reconciliation is bringing Wear Justice Week to Point Loma, featuring a fair trade coffee tasting event, a fair trade film festival, anti-trafficking art contest, sustainable fashion show, and our clothing swap and fair again! The event will take place throughout the week of April 8-12, and will bring together PLNU students and faculty, as well as local high schoolers and community members. The CJR hopes to continue these critical conversations about the fashion industry and how our purchasing practices affect people and the planet through our second annual Wear Justice week.