Monday, January 6, 2014

the clothes on your back

You know that lovely addition to your capsule wardrobe that flatters you in all the right places in a  colour that pulls everything together... but in the back of your mind there's a niggling shadow of awareness, momentarily pushed aside. There's a strong suspicion that cheap fashion does come with a human and environmental cost. I feel powerless not knowing when the story behind low prices tell the story of exploited workers and unsafe practices and when it could be explained by the global differences in the cost of labour and materials. I am not immune to bargain buys that boggle the mind: how did they produce the material, sew into clothes and ship across oceans for $20-30 dollars, including the retail markup?

Even if my purchase would be a second hand one, the act of using a product until it's useless doesn't erase the history of how it was made.

I have no idea where the products in this film are heading to, but I'd like to send these kids to school, so they learn to read and write, explore and wonder, express their feelings and ideas and still have time to play and be kids in order to grow into empowered adults. And it's not just a question of underage workers as I'd like to believe there's less and less chance to get away with it these days. How are adults who are tied into lack of education, low wages and long hours able to offer any hope for their children?

It's a sad world where it's accepted to take advantage of the social and economical differences.
Is the price of locally produced goods really out of the average earner's reach or do we just want too much stuff?

Oh to be a conscious consumer.

Here's my remedy: when I create clothes I feel more comfortable as I can make informed choices about every detail, starting from the raw material. Knowledge is power.

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