Let’s Create a Factory Ranking System for Fashion Designers So I Can Finally Buy Pretty Clothes, PleasePosted: September 10, 2012
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.