Questionable Ethics

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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby Stingray Sam » Fri Jan 16, 2015 6:38 pm

To me I place consumption of clothing very low on what is ethically important. My overall contribution to the entire industry represents a drop in an ocean, my choices will not stop exploitative labor practices, it will not solve the environmental problems associated with the construction of garments, it will not create safe working conditions across the globe. So to me the question of how I should consume clothing is a personal one. The questions I ask myself is whether or not I can sleep at night with my choices, whether or not this purchase is inline with my morality and ethic. I personally try to have a high standard of what I purchase, and this is entirely selfish of me. I do it for myself, for my internal consistency, for my conscience. The problems we face in terms of environmental damage, international working conditions, global health, and corporate exploitation do not end at my pocket book, they don't even start there. As many have pointed out here, the entire system is riddled with problems, we cannot possibly fix one thing at a time and expect things to slowly get better. We have too many people, not enough resources and are living on borrowed time.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby starfox64 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 6:43 pm

don't you try to adhere to ethical practices with your food consumption? how is this different?
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby smiles » Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:22 pm

Does anyone know about the conditions of factories in Japan?
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby bels » Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:17 am

They've reproduced the conditions of factories in America during the post war years with exacting precision
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby Stingray Sam » Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:09 am

@starfox64 I never said that I don't try to purchase ethical clothing, the last unethical piece of clothing I bought was uniqlo trousers 6 months ago and before that an h&m t-shirt about a year ago. I'm just saying that our individual actions aren't going to change systemic injustices. It's simply not a matter of everyone slowly coming to the realization that they shouldn't support exploitative labor practices. The entire issue is not some cut and dry thing if you are actually in the business of trying to solve the problems that afflict this industry. If you just want to feel good about yourself and do the bare minimum then it's pretty easy to just purchase ethically made clothing, but by no means are you changing the world. I don't see how this is a recipe for political inaction @amikrumpingnow, I'm essentially saying that changing your purchasing habits is like trying bail out the titanic with a 5 gallon pail. It's moral, yes, but completely ineffective. The entire issue systemic to the globalized earth, in order to fix these problems much of the existing power structures must be radically changed. Taking a political stance and limiting where you purchase your clothing from will do nothing to change this. If you are all so terribly concerned about these injustices then I would hope that you would try to create real political action instead of agonizing over whether or not purchasing a pair of uniqlo socks is the right thing to do.

Like I was saying, I find it personally a moral obligation for me to purchase as ethically as I can. However those who don't aren't necessarily immoral for this. There's far too many factors that goes into why someone purchases something, most of them outside of their control, that they can be held culpable for participating in a system designed for them to make these sorts of purchases. It's the same thing with food, I personally find myself having a moral obligation to try to eat ethically and hold myself to those standards, but there are so many factors going against ethical consumption in general that I find it hard to say that others hold an universal responsibility for this sort of thing. The very fact that we're debating this demonstrates our privilege in these issues. Being vegan or vegetarian, consuming ethical clothing, putting a bumper sticker on your car, purchasing a prius, they're all armchair activism. And that's completely okay, but again it's not doing much. In order for things to change there has to significant change to all of these structures that have accumulated and been reinforced over the years, and that will take people in power with the desire to change the system. Not university students deciding to buy only from companies that only manufacture in the first world. And honestly there's so much in the supply chain and so much that goes into just creating a pair of socks that are massed produced that is obscured from our view that, unless you decide to buy only from companies like STORY that control the entire supply chain that goes into their garments, your purchase of clothing from factories that are "ethical" is probably negligible in the damage it mitigates. True ethical consumption is going out into the woods and living completely off the grid, I mean you still have to use postal services to get your STORY goods (most of us at least). I still advocate for people to make informed decisions about how they consume, but to put a lot of effort into this is to miss the forest for the trees.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby Stingray Sam » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:58 am

@ramdomthought if they built the structure titanic to withstand icebergs we wouldn't be having to try to bail it out in the first place
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby maj » Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:27 am

I think you underestimate how important getting people to think and be aware that these practices are exploitative both environmentally and socially, getting people to care about these little things can lead to long term change in the future. Everyone buying energy saving light bulbs isn't going to save the world but the push on doing so installed a foundation for environmental consciousness in a generation which is an easier platform to build and develop in the future than the previous option. Getting people to think that this stuff matters is a huge obstacle to over come and even if you can say "I don't buy _____" and explain to people why it gets them thinking even if not changing. i don't think you can say honestly that consumer awareness and expectations have no effect on company operations. It's less a sinking titanic which suggests it's unsalvagable more a case of slowing, stopping and hopefully reversing the flow of the damage done. Neither is it the case of "what if we didn't buiild it like this" the fact is it is like this and we now must adapt this preconstructed system into something cleaner, greener and friendlier, no matter how slow or frustrating the process is.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby bels » Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:48 am

I'd really like to talk more about the practicalities of this stuff w/r/t clothes. I know that most of us on here aren't perfect but I also know that most of us care and would like to become better. Other than just "buying less" which is probably something that almost all of us try to do can anyone share any information on what kind of moves they've been deploying? Have you found some second hand mecca and have decided to purely buy from there? Are you locked into specific brands because you researched them and they held up to you standards? Would be great if people would share their findings. To be honest I can't think of any brands that I'd really trust 100% for ethics other than Story, and that's probably mainly because I know bobkat.

I'd probably also trust the Northampton shoemakers to treat their workers fairly, certainly at least the ones who work in Northampton because as I understand it it's very rare to have people with the necessary skills over here. I know Loake has people working in India on all of their shoes other than the 1880 line. Herring has a section of their site dedicated to products made "entirely in britain" http://www.herringshoes.co.uk/search.ph ... rch=0&tags[]=119&haid=36&fp_box_id=1

It would be nice to try and take the discussion away from country of manufacture but it's often the easiest short cut to working these things out.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby mike868y » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:13 am

can anyone talk about working conditions within the us? i try to buy a lot of stuff that is made in the us partly because i'm a sucker but also because i feel like i'm supporting ethical manufacturing. i know this probably isn't 100% true though. who knows, daiki could be some type of slave driving benevolent overlord making asian grandmas work 14 hour days in the attic of nepenthes ny.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby schiaparelli » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:25 am

tbh i feel nervous/unqualified to make broad sweeping statements about clothing consumption ethics in general, and what is the "right" or "wrong" way to approach them. but this thread has produced a lot of self-reflection on how i personally buy, and what standards i have for my clothing.

so, on a personal level:

more and more i'm starting to think that i need to care more about the ethics behind the clothing i consume. i identify as a feminist and i think, as much as is possible to do in daily life without paralyzing yourself, i try to think about my actions and how they interact with larger systems of oppression and injustice. it just feels to me that, if i care this much about fashion, and if i care this much about acting morally, i should really try to investigate and learn more about my clothing.

but it feels really intimidating because, as i mentioned in my earlier post, there are all these red herrings when trying to look for information about ethical clothing production. there are so many brands quick to promote that they're made in germany! made in america! and i generally trust labor laws in the u.s. more than, say, cambodia, but exploitation of workers can happen almost anywhere. and it feels hard to find information about manufacturing/construction practices, and i don't really have the background knowledge to sift through it and decide, "this brand is good, this brand is bad".

so one proxy i use a lot is to just see if a brand/company publishes information about their factories, period. i realize that things like "factory tours" and long paragraphs about how a particular factory was chosen, how it's a family-owned factory that's been that way for generations, &c (e.g. what everlane does with their factory tours and profiles) might just be a sleek PR move. especially with the everlane stuff, it's a lot of dSLR pictures and discussion about how the factory is used by top luxury brands and so the construction quality is supposedly great, but not so much about ethics.

but it also feels rare that people acknowledge the factory labor behind clothing. h&m has a lot of material online about their factory conditions, working conditions, corporate ethic standards, and they also released a plan on how they want to have fair living wages by 2018. i don't know how much of it is bullshit, but i do tend to trust brands more if they actually publish this information and acknowledge that ethical working conditions are a work in progress. the fact that they publish the plan means that people who know more about this than i do can critique it and point out good/bad things about the plan, and the overall conversation about stuff like this is educational for me, but also keeps the idea of clothing ethics alive in the press and in the public consciousness, to some degree.

also—this thread has focused a lot on labor ethics, but i'm also really interested in environmental ethics and the impact of producing clothing on the environment. nike released an app more than a year ago called 'making' which contains information about the resources needed to process different materials—e.g. how much water/chemicals/energy it takes to produce/process cotton vs nylon. they have a super comprehensive list of materials and it's really interesting to poke through the data.

(just to continue with the case study of h&m) however, i think the business model of h&m—constantly producing on-trend clothing (that is inherently disposable, due to materials used and the ephemerality of the designs in most cases)—is also problematic. like i said, it's hard for me to get a handle on the industrial-scale ethics of producing clothing, but it's easier for me to look at my own consumption of clothing, and how often i "donate" things. there have been some interesting discussions on how useful donated clothing really is. i read this business of fashion op-ed a while back about the troubling ramifications of second-hand clothing and it was really thought-provoking. i think it's pretty common to depict clothing donations to your local goodwill or something as this black-box system where you're generically "doing good" to "people in need".

i would love to hear specific personal anecdotes/ideas on how other people interact with consumer ethics through their buying. i think this is a fantastic thread idea, but i would really love to see less ideological grandstanding and more discussion/sharing. a lot of us care about ethically-produced clothing. i'm guessing that a lot of us also don't know the best way to have our buying/wearing practices reflect our ideals. i want to know how you guys are doing it.

(edit) i'll be honest, right now i just try to minimize buying fast fashion and i try to buy from companies that talk about their manufacturing process. one of my favorite womenswear brands, kaarem, has one of their founders working in saigon, vietnam, where their production facilities are. my general impression/belief is that the proximity of the designer to the production facility/conditions probably means it's fairly ethical—again, just a guess. to be truthful i'm a bit lazy about investigating this stuff, but i would like to get better.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby smiles » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:48 am

I don't know where the fabric from Tender comes from, some mills in Japan, but everything is made in the UK, mostly in or around Leicester I think. And he obviously makes a point to employ some craftsmen from the area like blacksmiths and potters and woodworkers.

Last I checked (on the sufu thread) all of the tender jeans/shirts were being made by an older south-asian couple. The smaller the scale, the easier it is to judge I'd say.

For stuff like Hender Scheme, and Yaeca, by virtue of being fairly premium products made in Japan, I'd hope that they be mindful of their impact and practices. Also seems like the customer base in japan would be interested in that sort of thing. It's hard to tell though.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby ramseames » Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:12 pm

http://havenshop.ca/intel/hender-scheme-a-conversation-with-ryo-kashiwazaki/

You've probably seen this but there's some photos of the hender scheme studio in this.

I think with HS the level of craftsmanship/very minimal tolerance for error with most of what they're doing excludes the possibility of ever using low cost labour, regardless of any sort of ethical intentions.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby bels » Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:05 pm

Tender is pretty ethical except they force their workers to go to Leicestershire.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby mike868y » Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:19 pm

can we also use this thread to out companies that claim to be "made in [x]" but really only do the bare minimum of manufacturing there? eg: shinola. http://four-pins.com/style/shinola-detr ... te-knight/
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby hirokinakamura » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:41 pm

Shinola is such a fucking dirty sham

My inner horological enthusiast scoffs in disgust at those fucking charlatans
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby Stingray Sam » Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:22 am

@iliam I haven't created a false dichotomy between buying ethically or creating structural change. I've just said that structural change ranks far higher on what is important. We simply haven't enough time to wait to create a generation that will support the idea of change then wait for that generation to enact it. I honestly don't believe that people will be able to proactively mitigate the coming issues to any significant degree before we are faced with them and forced to change.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby oucho » Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:01 am

I think it's wrong to take the attitude: 'This is bad, but if we all start doing this then everything could be fine.' This doesn't take into account any of the practical consequences of a global change of attitudes. I'm not going to go any further into that because that sort of idealistic change is impossible anyway. A lot of people would argue that capitalism is the root of a lot of these problems but there is a moral idealism behind capitalism just like any other political theory: the idea of the fair trade and the concept that the work you do contributes to society. Obviously this is not how it works in reality. It's impossible to make significant numbers of people truly embrace an ideal.

Of course things can still change and consumers can influence the actions of huge corporations, even posting on care-tags can make a difference. At the end of the day it comes down to practical realities and changes can only be made by people within the industry. I think small business owners have a responsibility to lead consumers in the right direction by championing and pioneering ideas like organic fabrics and socially responsible manufacturing. At the end of the day you can't expect every consumer to be an expert in everything they buy and it should be up to business owners to lead consumers responsibly.

Obviously with TEF we try to promote positive changes, Made in Britain, online only, constructive male and female role models, less gender boundaries, that sorta thing. Compromise is 4 dweebs.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby Bobbin.Threadbare » Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:19 am

I agree - like i said before it's up to the brand to make decisions, and then in the hands of consumers to support them. The argument 'yeah, but it also has to look good' underpins the whole thing and I feel it a bit of a 'get out' clause. Of course it has to look good!

My ethics, and other people ethics are completely different. I don't support death in the name of fashion and that's relatively clear. I can EASILY live my life without eating animals, without wearing a leather jacket, and buying silk shirts. The real trouble is finding brands confident enough to not use leather - even hidden leather.

I also understand that on the flip side people feel we are ethically responsible to 'support' farmers who have traditionally reared lambs and whos livelihood depends on it. I completely disagree (again, needless death) but I'm aware of this school of thought.

But my central point remains. It's the brands responsibility to deal with this, tell you about it, and you make a decision. Every single one of you knows there are brands in your wardrbobe, cupboard or dinner plate that suck. They fucking suck the planet dry, are cruel, poison kids or cause suffering to animals for no good reason, knowing people will support them because of taste and trends. It's our responsibility to design products that are cool and un-cruel.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby ballast » Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:44 pm

i don't have much to add here but to go off the point of "made in the usa". it's hard to say anymore since there have been issues with items made in guam and saipan. since they is technically a u.s. territory, items made there can have the "made in the usa" label but the working conditions there are very dire, especially in garment manufacture.

just a few quick links i googled, more easily availble:
http://www.veganpeace.com/sweatshops/re ... opping.htm
http://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/18/world ... re-no.html
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby bels » Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:07 pm

Well for the sake of whatever

http://store.americanapparel.co.uk/orga ... -t_2007org
http://store.americanapparel.co.uk/orga ... t-_2001org

American Apparel are having a sale on their organic long sleeve and long sleeve t shirts. That's cheaper than Uniqlo.

Last time I messed with AA the quality made me weep. Anyone know if improvements have been made?
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby JewTurk » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:14 am

bela wrote:Well for the sake of whatever

http://store.americanapparel.co.uk/orga ... -t_2007org
http://store.americanapparel.co.uk/orga ... t-_2001org

American Apparel are having a sale on their organic long sleeve and long sleeve t shirts. That's cheaper than Uniqlo.

Last time I messed with AA the quality made me weep. Anyone know if improvements have been made?


I have a couple pairs of baseball tees in their poly/cotton mix and I've had them for two years, wear them 4-5 times a weak in the hot months between the two of them.

I wouldn't get anything but basics like shirts/knitwear from them, though.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby Bobbin.Threadbare » Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:53 am

Stingray Sam wrote:To me I place consumption of clothing very low on what is ethically important. My overall contribution to the entire industry represents a drop in an ocean, my choices will not stop exploitative labor practices, it will not solve the environmental problems associated with the construction of garments, it will not create safe working conditions across the globe.


Just dropped onto this page, saw this statement, and had to say something.

This isn't true. My brand's growth is almost entirely based on a couple of people buying, making a show of acceptance, and getting the word out. If just a couple of people choose to buy and wear products made without cruelty people will see and want them/accept them. We might someday build a multi-million pound empire off of a few 'drops in the ocean'.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby teck » Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:14 pm

i dont feel any qualms at all. none. i'd prefer not to hurt anyone in the process of being alive but that's really just a default setting i have and i havent thought about it much after that.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby JewTurk » Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:45 pm

Would someone's own financial handicaps be rationale for unethical purchases?
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby bobo77 » Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:07 pm

JewTurk wrote:Would someone's own financial handicaps be rationale for unethical purchases?

Of course. Obviously it'd be preferable for someone to strive for ethical purchasing practices, but don't be expected to make ethical purchases if your financial scenario prevents it. I wouldn't be angry at someone working a minimum wage job or a student for not only buying MUSA stuff lol. I think one thing one could do to attempt ethical purchases with little money is checking out thrift stores, because you're not really contributing to the production of another product, just saving it from becoming trash. But even then, thrifting can be limited depending on your area. Feel free to shop at Wal-Mart if you have to.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby une_impasse » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:05 pm

How do you all feel about fur and leather? I know that's a broad as hell question but it seems like they've never been more popular, leather especially, and with so much fur on mens runways I'm curious how care tags feels, whether you have a "side" or just a passing fancy.

I ask because I realized I have two leather jackets (one lined with muskrat fur oddly enough) but both were bought secondhand, and i wonder if taking them off the secondhand market, so to speak, creates more "demand" for them brand new and for the eventual trickle down to secondhand? a local store offers a fur and shearling donation program for animal rehabilitation centers which is also very adorable, and has brought out some really wacky pieces from some wacky people, and it seems like they have to hide them because people clamor for them before they reach the designated donation bin. is the stigma surrounding fur and leather just as trendy as the fabrics themselves?
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby bobo77 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:02 pm

Reality Show Sends Fashion Bloggers to Work in Cambodian Sweatshop

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A young blonde woman weeps openly on camera, her manicured fingers perched wanly against her cheekbones. “I can’t take it any more,” she sobs in Norwegian. “What sort of life is this?” Her name is Anniken Jørgensen, one of three 17-year-old fashion bloggers who “star” in a five-part online reality series about the horrors of sweatshop labor in Cambodia. Tapped by Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newspaper, for the social experiment, Jørgensen, along with Frida Ottesen and Ludvig Hambro, flew to the Southeast Asian country’s capital of Phnom Penh, where they experienced a modicum of a Cambodian textile worker’s life for a month in 2014.
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby sidewalk » Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:20 am

polo
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby sidewalk » Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:22 am

@stappard
stappard_ » Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:06 am
but tell us how you really feel


Unlike anyone else in this thread? Fuckin dumbass shit to say, look at the walls of text above me. Don't be bitchy just because you disagree. I'm not runnin through freetalk thread saying "tell us how you really feel" just because somebody voiced something.

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Bitch count rn: 2

Say something boy. You're neg isn't saving the slaves in china. You have the privilege of living in a free society. You have the ability to say how you feel yet you say absolutely nothing because you're worthless for thinking your opinion matters, then go so far as to not even say anything. Where'd your last paycheck go? Africa bro? Nah it went to feeding your fat face while you tried not to spill on your designer clothes. Gtfo
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Re: Questionable Ethics

Postby stappard_ » Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:51 am

sidewalk wrote:Unlike anyone else in this thread? Fuckin dumbass shit to say, look at the walls of text above me. Don't be bitchy just because you disagree. I'm not runnin through freetalk thread saying "tell us how you really feel" just because somebody voiced something.



sidewalk wrote:dont even bother giving me an apologist response because ill pour a glass of champagne and laugh at you


You preempted anyone bothering to give you a proper response with your utter bollocks attitude. Nobody in this thread is claiming to that they're solving the worlds problems but just pitching up and saying you're all deluded morons when people are trying to have a reasonable discussion about what can be done is needlessly narcissistic.

its not even about disagreeing with you, nothing you said is a surprise to anyone or is even worth engaging with. Its just not clear how you thought you were at all adding to the discussion other than to spout pointless vitriol.
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