Friday, July 11, 2008

Clothing, What It Really Costs

This particular post is dedicated to someone very close to me, who has had one too many sips of the kool aid.  I will start out by saying it is not enough to vocalize your political beliefs, you must to some extent live them. Today the western world is a consumerist society.  People make trip after trip to the local mall, attempting to purchase that which cannot be bought for any price...happiness. Even as the debt crises in North America becomes more critical, people cannot seem to resist the call of the name brand.  North Americans no longer worship a single God, their attentions are split between Tommy, Nike, Dolce and Gabana, Liz Claborne, etc and etc.  Not only are these items over priced, they are beautifully labelled so that the world can recognize that the wearer is a person of "value".  Yes these dupes walk around in these items all the while providing free advertising to the makers of these products.    When you wear these clothes you essentially are nothing more than a walking billboard.

  If that were not enough, consider the fact that these clothes are for the most part made by "third world" workers.  Their rate of remuneration amounts to exploitation.  One US dollar a day is not a living wage.  Many workers are paid less than that.  When Tommy had his free zone in Jamaica workers were paid 15 US dollars a week.  Consider that from that paltry sum of money rent must be paid, food must be purchased, school fees paid, taxes etc and etc.  This amounts to abject poverty, so that North Americans can have the privilege of being walking billboards.   The fashion industry is no different than any other large industry, it is constantly looking for cheaper and cheaper places to produce its products.  With workers being driven away from subsistence labour, it has become easier to impoverish and feminize the proletariat, thus realizing greater, and greater profits. 

In a capitalist society where everyone must sell their labour, it is difficult to unplug from the system of exploitation.  There are many different acts one can perform to challenge the normative.  Since it would be a waste to discard name brand clothing that is already owned, consider turning it inside out so that you are not a walking billboard.  Purchase any new items at a used clothing store.  By making purchases in these types of stores you can be assured that your money is not going to those that make their profits by exploiting labour.  I was born in city of Toronto.  In that city there are more than 500 sweatshops in operation.  It is time to start to boycott products that make profits through human suffering and exploitation.   It basically comes down to reevaluating what is valuable.  Is it more important to walk around in trendy name brand clothing than resisting a system that impoverishes and devalues the workers of the world?  Derive your status from something meaningful.  The clothing that you wear in no way signifies your worth.  Remember that the original intent behind clothing was to protect the body from the elements.  It is time for a little revolution, it is time for a little truth.  Will you be defined by social construction?


Larry Geater said...

Even if your clothes are not designer clothes they were probably made in a sweatshop. That is hard to get away from in our economy but there is still a good reason to avoid designer clothes.

Flashy Clothes = Insecure Person

Renee said...

This is why I recommend buying used clothing to circumvent the garment industry altogether. They will continue to exploit people as long as there are profits to be made.

Wendy said...

these clothes are for the most part made by "third world" workers. Their rate of remuneration amounts to exploitation. One US dollar a day is not a living wage. Many workers are paid less than that.

Tis a shame it truly is I for one do not look for name brand clothing and could care less what anyone says about it.

Renee said...

Even though the post speaks about name brand clothing it is important to remember that most clothing produced by the garment industry is made through exploitative labor. We need to address the system by opting out as much as we can. We further need to stop the ridiculous trading in of clothes to keep up with fashion trends, this is a waste of our precious global resources.