Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Why Fashion's Not Fair

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Why Fashion's Not Fair

Article excerpt

Fashion's big problem is that it's meant to make us feel good. We don't want to be asked questions about it, or have our conscience pricked. Asking someone if the clothes they wear are fairly traded is liable to make them sink into a depression. I know it does me.

The simple question is, of course: why can't we just have the clothes that we have now--but ethically? Why does a child have to be forced into work to make my clothes? Who would willingly buy a coat that had cost the health of a 12-year-old or separated her from her family? The answer is (surely?) no one. But that sort of information isn't on the swing tag and, unfortunately for the mistreated workers, when we buy fashion we do tend to enter into a parallel universe: we pay our money and expect hope and glamour, not a story of reality and despair.

The sad realisation is that we're greedy and just a little bit lazy. It's very easy for commentators to spout nonsense such as "ask about where the clothes you're buying come from". …

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