FAIR TRADE MATTERS: Clothes
Around the world today, there are around 170 million children in forced labour.
This situation IS IMPROVING, as over the past 15 years or so, the amount of child slaves reduced by circa 30% (Moulds 2017).
Still, 10% of all the world’s children are in forced labour, and deprived of school.
Demands for fast and ever-changing trends– literally our consumeristic, ignorant love of “new fashion” as westerners– results in companies looking for the cheapest and quickest means of new clothes, so that their major corporations can profit the greatest possible amount of money.
Children are the “perfect” workers for these mass producers for a number of reasons:
- Little to no voice in society
- Small and quick-working fingers for sowing and cotton picking
- Low-skilled and obedient to adults
And big brand name companies, like Hollister and American Eagle, to name a few, go to great lengths to ensure that the truth about the sourcing of the clothes is not available to the public.
In my 18th Century Lit class, we were discussing the “fashion trend” of having a black slave. In Britain during this era, “owning” an African American slave was a symbol of wealth and status. When asked by my prof, “Do you think, if you lived in this time period, you would have a black slave?” I profusely shook my head. I couldn’t fathom the possibility of myself ever being ok with such treatment of a person, no matter my culture.
And yet, is that only because that person would be in front of my eyes as a slave?
Why am I okay with purchasing clothes made by forced labourers, as I live my privileged and educated life?
Is it because I’m able to do it pretending to be ignorant?
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Do I purchase Hollister and American Eagle jeans because they are trendy, “look nice,” and a fashion statement? (Come on– if you’re a girl, you’ve had a conversation with another girl about how jeans from one of these brand are “your favourite,” “the comfiest,” “make your butt look nice”) and we purchase them, having heard at some point from someone that the clothes were produced by child slaves but Aweh well I can’t do anything about it, one pair of jeans won’t hurt, can’t help now.
SUPPORT FAIR TRADE CLOTHING BRANDS
- PACT Apparel
- Krochet Kids
- Alternative Apparel
- People Tree
- Tribe Alive
- Fair Trade Winds
- HOPE Made in the World
- Eco Vibe