Let’s Create a Factory Ranking System for Fashion Designers So I Can Finally Buy Pretty Clothes, Please

How do you know you have made it?

I am here to tell you that I’ve made it. My standards are pretty low though, so don’t get jealous: As a working writer, I can finally afford clothes that are not Target, outlet or thrift store prices. This has been cause for some mental celebration.

Check it, I am now one of those ladies looking to invest in her wardrobe with a few choice pieces. How bourgeoisie of me, I know, at a time of high unemployment and the Occupy movement. I already feel guilty, made worse as I survey the market of fancy designers before me and wonder where their products are made, and if this has anything to do with why the product costs so much.

I am a consumer, a despised thing in some philosophies, but at least I desire very much to be a knowledgeable consumer. (A knowledgeable consumer is better than a vapid consumer, is how I reason with my reactionary self.)

Mock me all you want (this is me still wrestling with my reactionary demons), but one of the reasons why I despise Apple products is because of how they are made. Now that I have money to invest, I want to make sure my purchase isn’t  harming anyone.

Which brings me to the fantastic designer Tory Burch. No I really mean that compliment; I can see myself wearing everything on her site.

Except, the price isn’t right given the lack of information. The price more than “kind of” rubs me the wrong way.

I want to get a neutral sweater, and Burch’s clothing is beautiful so I want her to be a part of my budding personal collection.

The two sweaters in the running are both 20% angora, 70% wool and 10% nylon; the tri-mix means the color won’t fade, the wool will keep me warm during Chicago winters and the angora ensures a supersoftness my friends and boyfriend will insist on petting. A mighty fine sweater… and it will cost me either $275 or $495.

The more expensive one, with its cute and irrelevant fox emblem, is enticing me so hard while I write this. I can dress the sweater down with jeans, or up with pearls and a fitted red skirt. I can’t make the purchase though, because the sweater as a whole is not as unique as the cheaper one. I can’t even click the buy button for the $275 one, because neither product description lists where the sweater was made.

(Why is the sweater $495 when a gold-plated bracelet is $195? This high price annoys me more when I learn something made of real gold – and not just “gold plate” – is $130. But the fashion designer’s high price prerogative is something for another post, I suppose. )

I can talk myself into paying $275 for a sweater made in the United States, or if the sweater was made in an overseas factory paying families fair wages –  which include overtime-  in normal work conditions with more than one toilet. I can’t do it for anything less.

You know what would be really helpful?

If there was a global human rights council that went around rating the factories, and designers were required by international law to display this ranking prominently somewhere on their site and by the checkout registers in their stores.

Can you help a sister out and make this a reality pretty please? Because until then, I’ve set up these barriers to buying your product. In the event I overcome my sense of morality and ethics and buy your product without knowing where or how it was made, I really don’t want to feel guilty about it later.

Googling revealed Burch utilizes factories in China, and just this June her purses were found to have “nearly 200 times more lead than the limit permitted by the legal agreement with the Center for Environmental Health.”

I’d also like to not be poisoned, but I realize I can’t have my cake and eat it too.

Advertisements

Chicagoans create art on iPhones

All this digital art is beginning to get on my nerves. Why do I need a machine to make art? To view art? Everyone is glued to their “magical internet machines”…. am I alone in using art to disconnect from the web? :

Realizing the important doors technology opens for artists, Chicago Art Department program and exhibition coordinator, Mike Norse, led a class of ten local artists who combined talents in digital sketching, animation, photography, sound and video with the aim of a culminating group exhibition titled, iPhone Therefore I Am. Collaborating with national and international iPhone artists from as far away as Russia, Norway, Spain, France, and Germany, the local artists unveil their show and creations in the new year.

via Chicago Artists Create iPhone Masterpieces – Chicagoist.

What about the artists who don’t use an i-phone… or can’t afford one? What happened to all the starving artists? Oh, right. They went into advertising!

Maybe it’s time I organized my own raid on an Apple store….

[youtubevid id=”KZ_rUmbQMf4″]


Apple to clean up Chicago el station

An 1890s advertisement showing model Hilda Cla...

Image via Wikipedia

It is official. Apple will renovate the North/Clybourn Red Line Stop.

Under the CTA-Apple agreement, Apple is paying to renovate the station exterior, interior and platforms for no more than $3.9 million. The work on this station likely would be completed by Sept. 30, 2010, under the deal, which is “now in the signature process,” according to the CTA.

via Adopt my stop! Apple teams up with CTA to revamp North/Clybourn. What’s next? – RedEye.

What I want to know is: Is it possible to ban large companies from advertising in public spaces? If this is not possible, maybe a ban on “visual pollution”- the ads have to have artistic merit, reviewed by the populace.  What kind of world would we live in if the only way large corporations could keep themselves in the public eye was to do public works? Future headlines (if I were The Benevolent Dictator): “Target provides employment and housing for homeless family”, “T- Mobile buys 100 computers for inner city school” or “Coca-Cola cleans up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch“.  Would there be a downside to this?


Apple goes underground

The heroine from Apple's 1984 ad, set in a dys...

Image via Wikipedia

Am I selling out by showing some love to a big corporation?

A CTA spokeswoman confirmed that the transit authority is in talks with the computer and iPhone behemoth about a deal that could net the cash-strapped CTA as much as $4 million in funding from Apple to pay for an upgrade of the run-down subway station at North and Clybourn.

via Chicago Sun-Times

Through this deal, Apple will have first dibs on all advertisement going up in the renovated station, and considering how attractive Apple ads are, I am having a hard time protesting this development.  Apple also has an impressive track record for this kind of thing:

In the past Apple has provided improvements to sidewalks in in front of their stores, and has agreed to heritage preservation of its buildings, mostly in Europe. At the Regent Street (London) store the company paid to restore an intricate tile mosaic on the storefront, while at the SoHo (NYC) store they retained the historic shell of a former U.S. Post Office. At the San Francisco store, Apple’s architects incorporated the subway entrance into the store footprint and enclosed it with glass and stone.

via ifo AppleStore

When you compare KFC’s failed bid to fix our potholes with questionable asphalt and spray painted logos, Apple’s estimated 4 million for renovations makes them look like a saint. Nice try Apple, but I still won’t buy an i-phone….