Friday, May 23, 2008

baby GAP

For most of us, GAP doesn’t conjure images of young women working in sweatshops and even Nikes continue to be the fad item we all yearn to own. We are a part of the excessive consumer culture ever so present in the US that it has almost become synonymous with us Americans. Being on the receiving end, we do not understand or just simply neglect the relationship between excessive consumption and sweatshops present in our world today. Critical of the big companies such as GAP, my experience today has taught me that there are alternatives, if one is willing to look for them.

As I was looking for a gift for my friend’s baby shower, a cute little outfit on display in baby GAP’s window appeared irresistible. But I was taken aback from even entering the store knowing that this little dress is made by women who can barely afford to clothe their own children. I refused to partake in this inhumane consumption where “sweatshops are a reality of globalized economy” yet companies claim that “It is not a situation in which we are abusing people or there are health issues involved.” (Holstein, Palmer, Ur-Rehman and Ito, 1996) In fact, it is quite the contrary because workers face horrific working conditions and even suffer health problems caused by these circumstances. Picturing these inhabitable conditions, the little dress didn’t seem attractive any longer. Instead, I went to local Mother and Baby Source, a little shop filled with all baby necessities as well as organic clothes, to purchase my gift. I think I made a difference today, although it is minute on a global scale but it is a step away from the vicious cycle of exploitative production and irresponsible consumption. We do not need everything we buy, and we certainly don’t need closets full of clothes. Therefore, I think that as responsible consumers, we have to realize that “Clothing is a necessity whereas fashion is not.” (Kawamura, 2005)

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