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1 May 2013

MY UNETHICAL KNICKERS


Primark blouse, skirt, belt and knickers (thankfully unseen). Accessorize necklace, charity shop bag.

(That first photo is open to interpretation: it could be me saying, "My arse is THIS big" or it could be me saying, "I am a MASSIVE twat".  Answers on a postcard.)


It wasn't until I sat down to write this that I realised I'm wearing almost entirely Primark. I suddenly felt unbelievably guilty.  Does wearing cheap clothing make me a bad person?  Am I supporting poor working conditions? Am I - are we, our commercially driven Western world - to blame for the factory collapse and subsequent fire in Bangladesh last week?

It's interesting, because there's not much that we, as consumers can actually do about it - save going naked (thinks about Gosling naked.).  These garment factories aren't exclusively used by "cheap" retailers, but by brands such as Mango and Benetton as well.  What we can do is sign petitions and become as aware about our shopping habits as possible, but in a world where those twenty quid disco pant rip offs worn obsessively by fashion devotees are classed a "bargain", and applauded by high street magazines and bloggers, are we capable of bringing morals into our wardrobes?  I don't know if we are.  

It does need to come from the top.  Buyers need to be more aware of their suppliers.  Everybody needs to be less selfish.  I don't want people to die just so that I can buy a £10 dress.  

I'd like to think that my compulsive charity shop shopping goes a little way to rebooting my humanity, but I'm not sure that's enough.  It's quite peculiar when you think that on the one hand, we're taking away from people's lives by practically inhaling these clothes and encouraging the awful greed that drives these types of cheap labour factories, but on the other hand, a lot of those same people who are buying from Primark are also ardent charity shop fans, their money going to help struggling people.  That is a huge part of the reason I enjoy spending my money in charity shops - charity.  Charity, and recycling.  But, as Joey from Friends once wisely said, "There is no such thing as a selfless good deed.".  The fact that I'm buying from charity makes me feel good, and then I feel bad for spending money and feeling good about it, and then I feel bad about feeling bad about spending money when that money is going to help people who have less everything than me.  See?  And then I feel guilty for being so self obsessed that I think it's about me.  Because it's not about me.  It's about all of us.  It's about humans and humanity.  We need to find our humanity, because it's definitely slipped down the back of the sofa at some point.



6 comments:

  1. Amazing! The pictures are super cool!

    xx

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  2. You made some good points there. It's like there's no way to buy clothes without feeling guilty! (Solution: buy no clothes? But then the naked problem... and the whole having enough self control to not buy clothes.) Interestingly enough, I remember reading "Naked Economics" in high school and the author mentioned the case of how we in the western world would consider low pay, a "blessing" in the factory workers eyes since they are thankful just to have a job. But on the other hand, the system is obviously corrupt and no humans should be forced to work in inhumane conditions with degrading pay levels. Wow, this is why being a politician sounds like no fun. On a lighter note, love the friends reference :)

    Mili from call me, Maeby

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  3. Mmmmm all I keep thinking about now is Gosling naked ;). Really good post and really interesting points and you are from Bedford so only down the road from me :)

    Style With Friends

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  4. primmark is such a guilty pleasure for all of us!
    especially when there is soo many around!
    some great points made and a brill read!
    A
    www.23ofashion.blogspot.co.uk

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  5. I agree it needs to start from the top- and not just in the shops like Primark, that are quite well known to use the factories they do, but in the magazines, like you said, and then hopefully the message that £1 for 5 pairs of knickers is mega cheap for a reason. I'm certainly not saint over here, (also in my Primark pants), because, and again- as you pointed out- can I make a difference on my own? Probably not.

    Love this post- really interesting

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  6. Great post and also great to see the issue being addressed on a fashion blog. I think that fashion blogs have influence and they can help to raise awareness and change consumer habits. I also think that consumers have their part to play in change in the industry as while their is a demand for fast fashion, there will always be a brand or retailer willing to satisfy it no matter what the cost.

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