It is definitely disappointing to see that the website that I love shopping the most on has clothes that are so unsustainable. The clothes are also sold for really cheap prices so it makes me wonder if Yesstyle does not care about what companies sell on their platform as long as they get customers. Not only that but also, I wonder how Yesstyle received the “Caring Company” label if I cannot find any information on the page that discusses their ethical and sustainability practices. I definitely recommend being more transparent with the consumers and before that happens, I probably will not be shopping on Yesstyle for a while.
The T-shirt itself is made of 95% cotton and 5% Elastane. Cotton is a fabric that is unsustainable unless it is organic cotton. However, I don’t think the cotton used in this T-shirt is organic because it would’ve been labeled as organic. Cotton, on its own, is not sustainable even if it is biodegradable because of the large amount of water used to grow cotton crops. Mainly cotton is considered unsustainable because of its production process and 95% is a large amount of cotton. When I consider the number of T-shirts that are sold on Yesstyle from KARLY, it makes me worried about how much land they are using to grow cotton crops. Additionally, elastane is another unsustainable fabric. Elastane is not biodegradable and some people are allergic to the elastane. There are more sustainable fabrics on the market to consider but the company chose to use these cheaper and more accessible fabrics instead. Since Yesstyle is a platform that allows different companies to sell clothes online, it is not particularly Yesstyle’s responsibility to ensure that the materials used are sustainable but Yesstyle was awarded Hong Kong’s “Caring Company”. This means that Yesstyle should encourage the companies on their platform to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly but I doubt Yesstyle is actively checking for these qualities. Therefore, for further improvement, Yesstyle should consider holding higher sustainability standards for the companies that are working with them.
As mentioned previously, cotton is grown on crops and is extremely water-intensive. There are about 10,000-20,000 gallons of water used to grow cotton crops (Independent.co.uk). These are large amounts of water and cotton is one of the most popular fabrics right now and it is clear that there are probably more amounts of water being used to satisfy customer demands. Additionally, cotton crops require the use of pesticides and insecticides which leads to more chemicals being released into the ocean. These are all unsustainable methods of producing cotton because it leads to more water shortage and many people already do not have access to clean water. Furthermore, the intense use of pesticides is harmful not only to the environment but also to the cotton farmers whose health is influenced by inhaling these chemicals. Elastane, the other fabric used in this T-shirt, is a synthetic fiber which means it is produced by using a lot of energy. Its production process is complicated and also requires the use of many chemicals and mixtures to create elastane. Once elastane is disposed of, it releases microplastic into the ocean, which causes even more water pollution. Overall, neither materials used in this T-shirt are produced sustainably and Yesstyle should place stricter restrictions on the companies that are selling on the platform.
Additionally, Yesstyle is a brand that supports fast fashion. There are many environmental and ethical issues associated with fast fashion. According to Treehugger.com, fast fashion means mass-producing clothes in Asian countries such as China. These countries rely on cheap labor and materials so that the clothes produced are cheaper for consumer purchase. The issue does not just fall into using cheap materials and labor, it also involves textile waste. Clothing made with cheaper material is more likely to fall apart and wear out compared with clothing made with more expensive material. Thus, there will be more clothing waste which builds up more landfills. In order to combat fast fashion, there is slow fashion which means more using more sustainable and ethical production methods for clothes. To address waste issues, people can donate clothing that they don’t want to wear anymore so that it is not thrown into landfills.
Similar to many other crops, the people that make these crops are often farmers. Cotton crops are extremely labor-intensive just like people making elastane. Since there is also no information on the labor practices of KARLY or how Yesstyle ensures the company’s labor policies, it is unclear whether the people working for KARLY are treated fairly. It would be better if Yesstyle creates a section on their website that describes how they check for corporate social responsibility for the companies that sell on their platform as well as their ethical policies. From the information that I can gather on the internet, it is clear that many farmers that work on cotton crops and elastane crops are often treated unfairly, paid minimum wages, and are working in unsafe conditions. It is also unclear what type of company KARLY is or if it is just an individual selling on Yesstyle.
Workers in fast fashion are also treated unfairly. They are often cheap labor that companies in the United States sourced from Asian countries. Since these workers are not paid a lot, the managers usually don’t care about the working conditions. In addition to low pay, long hours, and unsafe working conditions, the factories in these countries also rely on child labor. This is extremely unethical and without specific working standards, it is difficult to trust the companies that work with Yesstyle. The prices on Yesstyle are cheap as a result of this.