I am sorry, But this is not going to be Very funny...
This blog started in 2014 with me finding out about the following:
I am not a big fan of pictures of pain – but this is the “About”-section and those ugly conditions – which just don’t make pretty pictures – are what this blog is about. Even further – This is what fashion today is about.
The Story behind the Label is a blog re-telling what is behind Fashion Labels. Advertising makes us blind for the actual product of clothes. Garments, stitches, colors and cuts and labels tell stories of people, labels, brands, production, countries and cultures – Fashion is full of this in wonderful and in cruel ways.
I will show you Fashion apart from the mainstream. With mainstream I mean everything that is considered to be normal in the so-called "western world". And if you are like me, one of those who grew up in this western world, there might be some things you don't know:
Since the 1950´s the Fashion Industry grew from 8 to 52 collections each year. That means that there is a new collection of clothes every week. Fashion became a lot faster in production, consumption and trends – called Fast Fashion. In the same time fashion became cheap. Primarkt, H&M, Zara, Forever21, ... (I could keep going) prove to us every day, every week, that a new style is available for just one or two Euros.
But I will also talk about high end brands that sell not cheap, but successfully "reduce some costs", produce cheap and are celebrated as giant businesses with a lot of power in fashion. Those costs are called the price of the Fast Fashion Industry or the True Cost – A documentary worth watching, it sums up the vicious circle of textile industries.
Workers, who make our clothes, pay the price for the "reduction of costs". Working 7 days a week 12-15 hours a day, for a minimum wage, which is mostly 70% under the existence minimum in very crucial and dangerous environment. Moreover due the power of the chemistry and pharma lobby a system is rising, which allows most materials to be dealt cheap in masses, which are highly polluted and cause all kinds of cancer. Worse: often these chemicals in colors, softener or tanning cut the access to clean drinking water or non-polluted food for entire areas.
Economists, who argue that these working conditions are a state of historic development, because most of producing countries are in their time of industrialization – are the economists who have not understood how global trade agreements, global economic dependency and resource allocation work today. The most common argument: "Being a sewer in fashion industry is better than nothing" - is absolute nonsense! I stress: It is not. We deal with slavery and human right violations, while labor unions get beaten down and arrested, because the state has a big interest in getting international orders. International orders in textile industry make 80% of Bangladesh’s GDP. In fact, this agenda of cutting costs is just focusing on money, numbers and growth. However, it is blind for the human value, which suffers from this development. Obviously there is a big problem with the system that we are all involved in.
– The Textile Industry is the perfect example how economic growth built up a complex system of human right violations, modern slavery, child labor, globalization, logistics, environmental harm and trash and water problems. Today we have statistically more slaves than in times of apartheid – slavery, covered by the word “labor”.
The Fast Fashion Industry is not going the natural way of economic growth, it is not how industrialization works, it has nothing to do with developing infrastructure. It is a perfect structure of dependency, money and crime.
So who is responsible?
This is where the complexity starts.
It is the corruptness of politics, which make workers fear to engage in labor unions or fight for their rights, it is the policy in the western world, which makes these countries highly dependent with trade-agreements to our economy, and this is also what allows the labels to push the price down. It is the labels, who use that possibility themselves, accepting the harm "somewhere else". It is the difference in law systems, which do not all have a similar idea of human rights and “right and wrong”. Everyone in a production chain can work for the same label… and yet do it under such different circumstances due to the respective laws concerning labor and human rights. Labels, which get appreciated for pushing economic growth – It also is the education: Economics, a subject that is taught in universities, focusing on numbers and calculations regarding social responsibility or values – building up the next generation of people, who believe that economic growth is the main goal, while the mass-production of fashion is one of the biggest issues when it comes to environmental pollution. It is the materialism of society and the urge to consume more instead of less, but more efficiently distributed – it is advertising. Commercials tell us to consume and that pushes us to believe that we will be happier and richer by consuming more. It is you and me. Our choice. Our lack of knowledge, lack of mindfulness, our ignorance, consumption and waste of clothes. So it really is everyone of us, being part of this global fashion industry simply by wearing clothes.
This is what this blog is about. The modern slavery, which we all support, whether we want to or not. Because we all wear clothes and we simply don't know anything about what’s behind it. Let us listen to the people, who make our clothes. It is easy, just read along and see what people in textile industry say about the conditions under which they work.
Don't be scared of hearing about it - the stories behind the labels are incredible and yet easier to understand than you would think!