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OXFORD – I confess: I do it, too. Like most Western women, I do it regularly, and it is a guilty pleasure every time. It is hard to listen to one’s conscience when one is faced with so much incredible

I am talking, of course, about cheap trendy fashion. I'll visit a Zara – or H&M, or, now that I am in the United Kingdom for the summer, the amazing Primark – and snap up items that are “cute,”
effectively disposable, and so shockingly inexpensive that one does a
double take.

I need to face my addiction – and so do all women like me.

.............please  follow the rest of this thoughtful and important article below via the url posted below in the 1st reply box.


Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2010.
For a podcast of this commentary in English, please use this link:

Thoughts anyone? 

Tags: fashion., humanrights, shopping, sweatshops

Views: 35

Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for this very important article. I used to worry about the "damned if you do damned if you don't" scenario. Not buying means people become unemployed, buying means supporting sweatshops. It's good to know that the people themselves have gone on strike - I can feel better about boycotting in support.

I have an eclectic style and have an aversion to seeing how much stuff is produced (especially clothing) and that could never be worn out. What a waste of resources! I solve my lust for shopping by going to thrift shops and painting and modifying things according to my tastes. I do confess that occasionally of late I have succumbed to a cute fashion at one of those discount places as I passed by, but I will harden my resolve and try to reuse recycle and repair!
This from the website mentioned by Ms. Wolf:

Did You Know?

*The number of garments bought by U.S consumers increased 73 percent between 1996 and 2001, while apparel prices have fallen 10 percent over the past decade.

*Sweatshop workers in Mexico earn 85 cents an hour for their labor, while in Indonesia the pay is only 15 cents an hour. Even in the United States, a worker may earn less than $5 for making a garment that will sell for $100.

*A cotton T-shirt blended with polyester can release approximately one quarter of its weight in air pollutants and 10 times its weight in carbon dioxide.

*Each 100-percent organic cotton T-shirt you buy eliminates the use of 150 grams of agricultural chemicals.

*Hemp, which has been used to make clothing and other products for 12,000 years, contains some of the strongest, longest soft fibers in existence and can stand up to most weeds and bugs.

It's interesting how we can have a tacit awareness about an issue such as this, and yet easily sublimate it in order to appease our addictions. I'm just as guilty, mind not as often as most, because I don't happen to like to shop in department stores or box shops. I really adore consignment shops ( I used to own one in Montreal) and have a master list for most major cities I've been to. I also have a good seamstress here, and in Hong Kong and they both are amazing, they have revamped a lot of my older eighties cloths and my late mum's cloths to update and fit me. I even have a silk suit my grandmother wore refitted for me. The saying "they don't make 'em like they used to" is so true of most inexpensive and middle of the road cloths, so I will sometimes buy something I like, and send it over to my gal in HKG to do up in a better fabric so it will last longer. I'm current, but not a "trendy" person. I'm very much a classic style kind of gal, with accessories more up to the minute than trendy looks. Besides, I've kept all the good looks for more than 35 years, most things still fits me, so I just have things tweaked a bit and add a belt or whatever. All my big shoulder pad jackets were recycled by investing in having the sleeves redone and the pads taken out.

Recycle recycle and or donate (carefully - I don't want to see my stuff shipped to Africa when women need clothing right here in town to start their life up again) is my motto, right now I'm unpicking the waist bands off skirts that don't fit me any more because the fabric is wonderful and my seamstress can re-do the zipper, narrow and hem the skirt, and I'm good to go again.

Thank you for the worldwatch link WS. I do think we must be more conscious of our spending, and how it impacts both our environment, and others worldwide. If we set a good example, our daughters and grand daughters will do so also.




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