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[personal profile] the_future_modernes posting in [community profile] politics
An oldish article (2010) but brings up point relevant to today, yes?

Stitched Up Part 1 | Fashion from production to consumption

In the first part of a new series, Tansy Hoskins examines who shapes what we wear, tracking the power of the fashion industry.

“A mild interest in the length of hem lines doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word.” [1]

Dismiss fashion as trivial and you dismiss the issues of workers rights, globalisation, the environment, cultural representation, identity construction and body image to name but a few.

From anti-Bush t-shirts to £10,000 dresses, the bits of cloth we put on our bodies all have history and meaning. Wear a hijab or the niqab and you’ll be attacked by Jack Straw and outlawed by the French Government. Wear a miniskirt and some courts will say that you are to blame for being raped. Since polyester is made from oil, fashion has even taken us to war.

This article is the first of five examining the impact fashion has on our lives. It considers who is controlling what we wear; fashion during production, distribution and consumption and the controlling power of the fashion industry. MORE

Stitched Up Part 2 | Fashion and the Recession

This second article in the Stitched Up series looks at whether the fashion industry changed as a result of the recession. With supermodels announcing: “You’re going to be a little more sensible with how you use your money” things looked serious. Even US Vogue editor Anna Wintour became a Recessionista when she was snapped wearing the same turquoise Oscar de la Renta dress to no fewer than four public events over summer 2009. Was this the end for fashion? Were we facing Crashion? MORE

If you must read one of these; Read this one:

Stitched Up part 3 | Who pays the price for what we wear?

Is our freedom of expression more important than other people’s freedom, and is being against fast fashion anti-working class? Should fashion be limited as something only for the rich?

The Human Cost

The demand for instant fashion, for a ‘6 or 7 week stock turn around’ has created millions of fashion victims. The only way for fashion to be so instantly and cheaply available is to cut the costs of production. Use cheap materials and use the cheapest possible labour.

It used to be seamstresses in London and Paris going blind stitching the dresses of rich women; now it is the turn of the poor in countries like India and China. Programmes like ‘The Devil Wears Primark’ have highlighted the crimes of familiar high street chains.

Primark is now notorious for making workers put in 80 hour weeks and for the fact that in a two month period, in 2006, over 100 workers were killed in factories that supply clothes to Primark.

But it’s not just Primark, it’s every company. All the trainers, tracksuits, jeans, suits, underwear… it all comes from factories where people work for less than $1 a day. There is a reason you can buy such cheap clothes in Tesco - the workers in Bangladesh who make them get paid £145 per year. Contrast that to the £4,700,000 in wages that Tesco Chief Executive Terry Leaky takes home each year. In addition, many ‘designer’ clothes are also made in countries like Cambodia then imported to Europe to be finished so they can get a ‘made in Italy’ label.MORE

Stitched Up Part 4 | Fashion Fascism?

There exists a long history of racism in fashion. Coco Chanel was famously a Nazi sympathiser and collaborator in Paris, and Hugo Boss established himself by designing and making the uniforms of the Nazi SS. More recently there was Prada’s outright refusal to use black models for their campaigns or catwalks.

This is what we are told that we should be aspiring to - to be giving our money to and wearing the symbols of racists who would crush all diversity.

It is interesting to note that hip-hop - which has its roots in the struggle for black equality - has been so co-opted into the fashion industry that most mainstream hip hop is little more than a shopping list of designer brands. Designer brands that subjugate and reject black people.

The Terror of Fashion

Fashion’s erasing of any diversity in terms of skin colour is matched only by the industry’s erasing of those deemed to be the wrong shape.

Size zero is the US equivalent of a UK size six. The average woman in the UK is a size 12 or 14. Size zero is as tiny as it sounds. It may be far from the norm in everyday society but in the land of fashion it is regarded as de rigueur. The size zero debate is now a well documented one but it took women dying before anything was done.MORE

Stitched Up Part 5 | An Ideal Fashion

This would be a post-capitalist society where the means of production are collectively owned so that people are freed from needless toil for the profit of a minority. A society where we live art not just make it, where “the colours of humdrum life [are] painted over once and for all.”
Will we still wear clothes?

We will still be wearing clothes - most places are too hot or too cold not to. Unlike pictures or writing, clothes cannot be digitalised. They have to be tangible.

The difference will be that the addiction to clothing will have gone: the constant desire to accumulate and feel that brief rush of hope and excitement. Today, the all-consuming world of fashion acts as a beautiful distraction from the grey, unexciting, alienating world that we live in.

But in an ideal society, such distractions from reality would not be necessary. The world itself would bring us happiness, work that mattered and made a real difference to society, all-consuming fun and relaxation and freedom to explore and be ourselves.

Clothes will not have such a hold on us as they do now. People will no longer be judged and categorised by what they are wearing. You will not be that handbag or those shoes. There will be no more talk of ‘I’d love to go but I’ve got nothing to wear’ - the madness that states that what you wear is more important than your company. We will cease to value objects more than we value ourselves. Our individuality will be assured: we will possess something other people don’t have, we won’t need to prove it by purchasing. MORE

Thoughts? Things she got right? Things she left out? Things she got wrong? Ideas on how to work on sweatshop exploitation? etc?


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