{r}evolution Reel: Where Does the Money Go?

If you’re new here, we’re on a road trip down the West Coast this summer with our sustainable clothing company, {r}evolution apparel. You can track our journey herehere, and here!

Money. It’s what makes the world go round.

We think about money a lot. We used to be bargain bin, after-Christmas-sale kind of girls. But then, during our crazy journey from college grads to nomadic travelers to clothing designers, we started tracking the money trail of fashion.

It changed our perspective completely. Now, after two years of living and breathing sustainable fashion, we can hardly remember what it’s like to buy something new, or make purchases without hemming and hawing.

But we wanted to know how other people shop. What’s important to them? How often do they think about the money trail of their purchase?

According to the US Census Bureau, the average American family spent $144 per month on clothing in 2009. But where does all of that money go? We created a diagram to trace the hands that touch a garment.

That’s a lot of hands, a lot of shipping, and a lot of activity for one t-shirt or one pair of jeans. And when we look closely at all of those steps, it’s hard not to ask,

How can clothes possibly be so cheap?

The average pair of jeans in America costs $34. But if we accounted for all of the environmental damage done along the way — emissions, processing, GMO seeds, pesticide-use — what would the cost really be?

How much would you pay to breathe clean air? Or drink clean water?

How much would you pay so that the people who make your clothes could breathe clean air and drink clean water?

A dollar extra? Two? Three?

We don’t have all the answers and we’re learning more about true cost and the trickle-down effect every day. What we do know, though, is that shopping isn’t some frivolous activity. Shopping is an investment in the world – and your investment represents the kind of world you want to live in.