I am sorry this is not going to be so funny...
This blog started 2014 with me finding out about the following:
I am not a big fan of pictures of pain - but this is the About-part and this is what this blog is about. This is what fashion today is about.
The Story behind the Label is a blog retelling what is behind Fashion Labels. Advertising makes us blind to look at the actual product of clothes. Garnments, stiches, colours and cuts and labels tell stories of people, labels, brands, production, countries and cultures - Fashion is full of this in wonderful and in horrible ways.
I will show you a kind of Fashion next to the mainstream. With Mainstream I mean everything 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 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 writing down a long list) prove to us every day, every week, that a new style is available with 1 or 2 Euro.
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 of "reducing 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 enviroments. Moreover due the power of the chemistry and pharma lobby builds a systhem that most materials handled are cheap in masses, highly polluted and cause all kinds of cancer. Worse: often these chemicals in colours, 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 ressource allocation work today. The most common argument: "Being a sewer in fashion industry is better than nothing" - is absolutley nonsense! I stress: It is not. We deal with slavery and human right violations, while labour unions get beaten down and arrested, because the interest of the state is high in keeping international orders. 80% is the number that makes the GDP of Bangaldesh in international textile orderings. In fact this efficent economy by cutting cost is the very sad and naive outcome focussing no other value than money in numbers and growth only. My understanding of value is diffrent. Money is actually only supposed to translate value. But obviously since money can make money this system lacks.
- The Textile Industry is the perfect example how Economic Growth build up a complex system of human right violations, modern slavery, child labour, globalization, logistics, enviromental harm and trash and water problems. Today we have statistically more slaves than in times of apartheid - slavery through labour.
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? Who is guilty? Who is the bad one?
This is where the complexity starts.
It is the corruptness of politics, which make workers fear to engage in labour 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 Label itself, who use that possibility, accepting the price of harm "somewhere else". It is the law system, which does not give all people the same rights, because they live in different countries with different laws, but still everyone working for the same Label. Labels, which get appreciated for their great economic growth - It is the education: Economics, which is taught on universities with stupid numbers and calculations for social responsibilities or values - building up the next generation of people, who believe that economic growth is a good thing, 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 believe "we need more" instead of less, but more efficient distributed - it is the advertising who tells us so, which makes us believe we will be happier and richer when we consume more, even though it makes everyone of us just poorer. And it is you and me. Our choice. Our not knowing, not thinking, not questioning, sonsuming and wasting clothes. So it is: All and 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 every single one of us supports. Because we all wear clothes and we simply don't know anything about them. Let us listening to them. If you dont want the way talking to them, let me do it for you and see what people in textile industry say about the textile industry.
Don't fear this complexity - it is aweome and stunning and easier than you think!