Fashion Crimes

It was enough to make you vomit all over your new denim jacket. The Gap has been caught using child labor in an Indian sweatshop, and not just child labor–child slaves. As extensively reported on the news, the children, some as young as ten, were worked 16 hour days, fed bowls of mosquito-covered rice, and forced to sleep on a roof and use over-flowing latrines. Those who slowed down were beaten with rubber pipes and the ones who cried had oily cloths stuffed in their mouths. Gap Kids: New Frontiers in Child Abuse on Barbara’s Blog

I asked my friend and former colleague Diane if she had any workshop ideas she could teach for the Sustainable Living Arts School. She responded, sheepishly with a “somewhat frivolous” workshop idea to help people make the most of the clothes they’ve got already. It ain’t frivolous when a trip to the mall feeds the child abuse Barbara Ehrenreich describes and unleashes more sickening corporate mealy-mouthed apologies.

There’s enough damn clothes in the world already without chaining children to their work benches to manufacture more. Support local hipsters when clothes shopping is a must and you’re not up to the thrill of the chase at the charity thrifts. Or trade all your duds in for a new batch at a local swap-o-rama-rama.  Or support your local art/craft/textile blogger- check out the links at Thimble (my friend Laural) or True Stitches (a former neighbour).

Barbara’s post morphs into a modest proposal to deal with the plague of unemployed children in America, which speaks to my slightly fried mommy brain this morning both as satire and catharsis.

This is what jobless children do: They rub Crazy Glue into their siblings’ hair; they spill apple juice onto your keyboard. Believe me, I see this kind of wantonly destructive behavior every day. Vandalism is a way of life for unemployed children, and they do not know the meaning of remorse. In fact, corporate America should go further and make a strong statement against the sickening culture of dependency that has grown up around childhood.

Why are jobless children so criminally inclined? Because they know that whatever damage they inflict, the Froot Loops will just keep coming. The Gap should portray its child-staffed factories as part of a far-seeing welfare-to-work program, which will eventually be extended to American children as well.

She also rips off a good one at the expense of Montessori schools that supports my prejudices but no need to quote the entire post-go read it.


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