The smell of Christmas is definitely in the air. Many stores are already selling Christmas decorations, gift baskets and Christmas themed items. I never really celebrated Christmas until seven years ago when I first moved to the United States. My dad's side (who lives in the United States) of the family taught me the meaning of family. We always gathered on special occasions such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chinese New Year and many other festive occasions to celebrate with one another. Christmas was my favourite time of the year. It's the time of the year where my relatives would spoil me with such lavish gifts. It was during Christmas where I got my first ipod and my first sewing machine. I would receive clothes, blankets, gift cards, makeup and little small gifts here and there. When I grew old enough, I would spend the majority of my money on gifts during Christmas. Besides Christmas, I would spend a lot of my money on clothes. As a Textiles and Clothing major and a fashion lover, I love clothes. I love buying clothes. I love having new clothes to wear. After watching the documentary "Made in LA" in class, I was shocked. I was shocked that many people in the world are working in poor conditions like those featured in the documentary. It made me reevaluate my spending habits. Holstein, Palmer, Ur-Rehman and Ito explained in their article that, "...if the kids knew how some of these gifts were made, it might cast a decided pall on their holiday cheer. Former workers and union organizers allege that some Guess clothing is made by suppliers who use underpaid Latio immigrants in Los Angeles...Mattel makes tens of millions of Barbies a year in China, where young female Chinese workers who have migrated thousands of miles from home are alleged to earn less than the minimum of $1.99 a day." I've read and heard many stories of conditions like those stated in the quote above; however, the documentary made more of an impact on myself. A majority of the time I buy out of a want and not a need. There are many families in the world that can't even afford the most basic necessities. In the article, "Hey, Ralph Lauren, Sweatshops aren't Chic, the author, Robert J.S. Ross, stated that "workers are housed in dorms where conditions are often crowded and the food poor. The first month's wages are often withheld, so if the workers quit because of bad conditions, they must forfeit a month's wages...exhaustion haunts the factory floors of China's export sector, and since last year, allegations of suicides caused by desperation have received worldwide attention." It bothers me that people have to go through these conditions in order to live day by day. Yes, it might be cheaper to produce clothing this way, but it's harming people. No one should ever have to live in such poor conditions. After watching the documentary and reading through these articles, I am going to be more careful of how I spend my money,especially since Christmas is coming up.
Update on Be Green challenge:
I still have not bought anything new. It's been almost a month and I'm pretty proud of myself. I do find myself itching to go online shopping or just walk around stores. The other day my friend dragged me to Target with her. I found my way to the clothing and makeup section. I picked up the items that I was interested in, observed them, then put it back on the shelf/rack. I think the reason why I'm succeeding in this challenge is because I grew up learning to only spend on necessities and to only treat myself on special occasions. My mum taught me to save my money. Whenever we would enter a clothing store, the sale section is the first section that we walk towards to.
Black Friday is approaching and I'm not afraid of it at all. Since moving to the states, I've never experienced Black Friday. In other words, I've never camped out in front of the store. The most I've done is wake up at 7am in the morning to go check out what's left over. I've never bought clothes or anything on Black Friday and this year will be just the same.
- Ross, Robert J.S. "Hey, Ralph Lauren, Sweatshops Aren't Chic." Los Angeles Times. Latimes.com, 19 July 2012. Web.
- Holstein, William J., Brian Palmer, Shahid Ur-Rehman, and Timothy M. Ito. "Santa's Sweatshop: It's Hard to Know Who Made Your Gift - and under What Conditions." U.S. News & Report 121.24 (1996): 50+. Web.