forever 21 tunic - $22.80.
in the fashion blogging world, it's no news that anna sui and diane von furstenburg are taking legal action against clothing manufacturers such as forever21 and target for blatantly copying their designs. this should be enough to anger us to simply stop supporting such brands, yet the majority seem to brush it aside by accepting this notion that that's just how the fashion industry works; designer rip offs are nothing new. why should we be upset about such as long as we can get that dvf look-a-like wrap dress for $19.95.
but, unfortunately, that tiny little price tag brings along even larger atrocities with it. today while i was opening mail at work, most of which consists of catalogs from publishing companies announcing their new arrivals, i came across an ad for a documentary called Made in L.A.
Like many other low-wage industries employing immigrant workers, the multinational garment industry in Los Angeles uses a network of contractors and sub-contractors to manufacture its apparel while insulating itself from the workers' low wages and poor working conditions. "Made in L.A." lays out a system that makes labor laws nearly impossible to enforce and keeps workers trapped between contractor and law enforcement while trendy stores and their customers are unaware of the human costs. But more, "Made in L.A." is an account of the remarkable protest mounted by the Garment Worker Center's workers and the revealing stories of three women who join the struggle.
In a throwback to another century, some of these factories are actually modern-day sweatshops, where garment workers — principally female and Latino or Asian — work 10- to 14-hour days, often denied eating and bathroom breaks, in poorly ventilated, locked facilities at wages well below California's minimum. They must also contend with unpaid wages and overtime.
photos from la.indymedia.org
after reading this i can't help but consider if this will make me stop shopping at forever21 and target and the like. maybe. i'd like to get to that point, and things like this push me one step closer. if i can't accept that we're forced to give our lives for a paycheck and a paycheck that barely lets us survive at that and when just today i was complaining that i have a job that requires me to have a master's degree and yet i can barely pay my student loans and have no healthcare because i'm forced to take a low paying temp position due to the limited job openings available at this time. if i have all these issues that affect me personally and annoy me to no end, then how can i condone buying a garment from a company that supports even worse situations - a company that makes my situation seem trivial?
and i can try to ease my conscience with the thought that since i'm underpaid and unable to afford a brand new anna sui blouse then f21 is a great source of low price designer looks so why not go ahead. i can trick myself into thinking f21 is helping me. i can so easily trick myself into thinking target is helping me by bringing these great looking designs at a price i can afford. that they really have me in mind by making everything so trendy and affordable and now. but they don't. we know they don't, and we know what they really have in mind. it goes without saying that what they have in mind is not us, but what's in our pockets. and it's this same one-minded interest that leads them to design stealing and inexcusable labor practices and inhumane treatment of their workers. but we continue to trick ourselves into thinking they do, so we continue shopping there and in turn we continue supporting these very same practices that i'm sure so many of us are vehemently against.
for the past three days i've been thinking of buying that little tunic up there, and if i weren't already trying to reduce my wardrobe to move in with m then i'd be all set to buy it. honestly, this morning i'd almost talked myself into it anyway. and sadly, in spite of writing all of this, there's still a small part of me that just wants black stripes and ruffles for $22. but why? why after all of this to i still feel that urge to make it mine? why are such simple concepts, such as bad company, bad practices = don't spend your $$ to support them, so hard to act upon? it's not hard. at least, it shouldn't be. i guess, really, it's just the want want want of it all, and that's really what we have to wrestle with.