We love our clothes. We love to look good, learn about trends; what colors complement our skin tones and seasons. There is nothing wrong with vanity and wanting to look beautiful. As long as we have a sense of vision, we will be intrigued by all things eye-catching. We will spend money on beautiful people, clothes, homes, even food.
I am free to indulge on what I find attractive. This saying is devoid of moral layers. However, if we strive for prettiness, we cannot close our eyes to who is responsible for it. The Greek busts we see at the Metropolitan Museum of Art were carved by sculptors whose backgrounds, lives and appearances are sometimes unknown. We are unable to dig that old in time.
When visiting the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, I remember the tour guide telling me how the pyramids’ colossal building blocks of stone were transported from miles away by “slaves.” Their lives were bound to these so-called Egyptian VIPs. I was mesmerized by how beautiful these structures looked against the scorching, sandy background, but sad at the sacrifices that had been made.
Luckily, we have the resources and the Internet to obtain such information today. And we should use this for our benefit. I believe that our worlds’ collective ethical consciousness has become better (for most parts) when compared to times before the abolition of slavery. Slavery still lurks today though, and if something is made and obtained by the hands of a human, it may be tainted.
Free2work.org provides graded evaluations for industries according to the visibility of their supply chains. The more an industry discloses how and where their products are made, the higher their grades are. The industries are not limited to just apparel, but electronics and coffee are also reported on in the site.
Abercrombie and Fitch, Express, Forever21, Lacoste, and Sketchers received grades below a D, while Adidas, Eileen Fisher, Gap and H&M are rated above a B. These are all places we shop from, completely unaware of how slavery is used to produce the things we shop for. More information is provided in the site itself and I found it extremely resourceful for myself since afterwards I stopped shopping at the low graded shops. I did this for my personal peace of mind, and want to share it to my fellow humans who care.
~ Maisha Maliha