Sunday, May 3, 2009

Made in Italy or Made in China?

With still an unanswered explanation, I had a sudden urge this past weekend to go buy something at the mall. Maybe it was constant exposure to advertisements or the subliminal messages of consumerism being good transmitted through media that really fueled me into this mentality. Regardless, I knew I had the craving and the first idea that came to mind was, “I need a new pair of sunglasses.” So without much hesitation in considering the amount of work I may have to do for the weekend, I went ahead and allocated some time on Saturday (May 2, 2009) to make a trip out to Arden Fair Mall. Immediately as I entered the main entrance, I was struck by the vast array of designer brand names that would potentially have a pair of nice looking sunglasses. As a result, I submitted to the advertisement’s grand scheme of luring consumers into visiting department stores and taking a look at a product that I may potentially buy. When coming across a pair of nice Prada sunglasses that I had an immediate desire for, I took a look at the inside of the frame and could not help but to notice that they were made in Italy. For another unanswered explanation, I was suddenly reminded of the Compact Challenge and saw that the various other brand name sunglasses came from various other European countries – France, Italy, Germany, etc. Immediately, I realized that these “fashionable” designs sunglass manufacturers developed were simply a result of diffusion (Kawamura, 2005) from other countries that were known to be prestigious in high fashion. If these designs had come from maybe China, their credibility may not be as high and therefore be marked with a significantly lower price tag. Having decided to keep in mind of the Compact Challenge after the first experience, I decided to not look at designer brand sunglasses and look into sunglasses that may even have recycled materials used to make it. Not too distant from the designer name brand sunglasses case was a table of other pairs that were on sale; about ten dollars a pair. Though these were significantly less expensive and did not have a brand name label stamped on the side, I could not help but to still realize that these sunglasses were made in China, and thus could be a product of sweatshop labor (Holstein, Palmer, Ur-Rehman, Ito, 1996) due to its remarkably low pricing, origin of make, and seemingly high quality of make. However, this was in fact an assumption and may or may not hold true, I found it surprisingly uncomfortable to pick up a pair of sunglasses where I was unknown of its manufacturing facts and support potentially unethical practices. By the end of the day, I walked out of the mall empty-handed and decided that a pair of sunglasses can wait. Although I had no initial intentions of making the Compact Challenge a reformed way of life in my lifestyle, it is hard to deny that it is not taking effect in it already.

Hugo Da Rosa - Blog #2
Sources: Kawamura, Fashion-ology: An Introduction to Fashion Studies
Holstein, Palmer, Ur-Rehrman, Ito, Santa's Sweatshop: In a global economy, it's hard to know who made your gift - and under what conditions

No comments: