|This dress from Patagonia is something I could truly love.|
The recent collapse of the factory in Bangladesh has stirred up old emotions for me. As I write this, the death toll is at 761 and rising. Stores I've shopped in subcontracted to this factory. When I start to get dressed each morning I pause for a moment. Did the person who made this dress die in that collapse?
Has there been any progress since I last seriously studied the issue of how our clothing is made?
I've spent several hours regoogling the subject, and most of what I find makes me feel like vomiting from upset-- so many stories about the human rights violations that continue to be committed in the factories that source so much of what is sold in the USA. The naughty list goes on and on. The nice list? Well, it depends on who you ask, but at least there are now some mainstream companies making a real effort to respect all the humans in their supply chain.
I don't want to fill this post with rehashing of what you can learn from anti-sweatshop advocacy pages, so visit these pages if you want to read more about the enormity and politics of the sweatshop issue:
- The Sweatshop Game (see also this Guardian piece on it)
I wanted to give you the reader (well, honestly, myself), some easy actions to take to move us in the direction of justice. I wanted to say something other than "Write your representatives and the CEOs of companies!" or "Stop buying clothes!"
I was determined to find a way to do-good with my debit card, so here's what I've found so far for clothing companies making a praiseworthy effort. Granted, there aren't many office-appropriate options (unless you wear t-shirts and yoga pants to work), but consider purchasing something from one of these places as your way of participating in the solution. One of the painful parts of doing this research was how many dead links (as in, ethical stores that didn't make it) I found, so Please, please, please tell me about stores that deserve to be added to this list.
Clothing Shopping options:
- tsdesigns.com/ (ideal for someone buying custom t-shirts in bulk. Read more about them.)
Company Report Cards:
|Clothing Store Ethical Report Card created by BetterWorldShopper.org|
|I was not aware until reading my alumni mailing that I am a WONK. Silly me just thought I was a bleeding-heart nerd.|
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