The dress you see me wearing in this post is the one she made, which likely took her weeks to design, collect materials for, and create. Sure, it’s not something you might be keen to wear on your next grocery shop nor your next girl’s night out, but it serves as a symbol of the possibilities available to us, of the effect inspiration can have when educated through the right sources, and of a form of activism that doesn’t need to shake the internet, but quietly and subtly sinks in.
The medium of video is by far the most effective way of disseminating information, as more of your senses are engaged than can be through the written word alone.
A few weeks back I was taking advantage of my husfriend’s free hotel room in La Rochelle. He got a part playing an astronaut in a French TV series called Open Spaces, and I followed him down to enjoy France’s southern sun. While he was shooting, I decided to exercise on the terrace where we were staying to catch some sunshine before I locked myself infront of the computer indoors for the rest of the day. I decided to put on the documentary True Cost while I did it, so I might listen and learn while I pumped that sweet iron. I had been hired by a magazine to write a piece about Rana Plaza and I needed some fuel for my soul to make my rhetoric worth reading.
Hearing the words from the matter-of-fact yet shaking voice of 23-year-old Bangladeshi garment factory worker and single mother, Shima, who makes the equivalent of $10 a month working in a factory full-time, and who was severely beaten for attempting to improve the unsafe working conditions of the factory she works in and demand a living wage. Watching this woman smile through her tears as she recounted the truth behind her life, the price she and the rest of factory workers pay for our throw away clothes, working in hot, chemical-ridden, structurally unsound environments, and listening to the effects this job has on her life, her child, and her ability to parent, broke my damn heart.
“is it possible, that sweatshops are actually good, yes horrible aweful the word itself sweatshop it envokes terrible images of poor people and children suffering in 3rd world countries slaving away in awful conditions to make products for us selfish Americans and thank you, whhhaaaatttt? *holds up her iphone”
or Kate Ball-Young, former sourcing manager of Joe Fresh stating:
“Does it bother me that people are working in a factory making clothes for Americans or for you know Europeans, that that’s how they’re spending their lives? Is that what you’re kind of asking me? -(documentary maker: “yes”) – “No, I mean, you know, they’re doing a job, there’s a lot worse things they could be doing”.
Below are some of my favourites to get you started, would love any suggestions of more in the comments below: