Author Archives: Nadira Lamrad

EXHIBIT// Politics of Fashion | Fashion of Politics

Canada’s QUEEN of fashion, Jeanne Beker, is guest curator for an upcoming exhibit at The Design Exchange on the intersection of politics and fashion!

The exhibit covers political fashion from 1960 to the present including a paper dress covered with Pierre Trudeau’s face during the Trudeaumania days, fur coats splattered by PETA, skinhead fashion, and a few pieces from Jeremy Scott’s Arab Spring collection.

Here is Jeanne Beker chatting with the KING of radio, Jian Ghomeshi (big fans!), on Q today and doing an AMAZING job discussing fashion theory, elucidating on the deeper meanings behind fashion, and even adding a few points on second-hand clothing, consumerism, fast fashion, cultural appropriation and thoughtlessness within the fashion industry:


This exhibit is definitely on our #fashionbucketlist next time we’re in Toronto! Politics of Fashion | Fashion of Politics runs from September 18th – January 25th, 2015.

Call for Papers // Fashion Theory Special Issue: Brazilian Fashion

Fashion Theory, a premier journal in the academic study of fashion, seeks articles for a special issue on Brazilian Fashion.

The issue will be guest edited by Dr. Rita M. Andrade (Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil) and Dr. Regina A. Root (The College of William and Mary, USA).

About the journal:

Fashion Theory takes as its starting point a definition of ‘fashion’ as the cultural construction of the embodied identity. The importance of studying the body as a site for the deployment of discourses has been well established in a number of disciplines. Until Fashion Theory’s launch in 1997 the dressed body had suffered from a lack of critical analysis. Increasingly scholars have recognized the cultural significance of self-fashioning, including not only clothing but also such body alterations as tattooing and piercing. 

Fashion Theory provides an international and interdisciplinary forum for the rigorous analysis of cultural phenomena. Its peer-reviewed articles range from foot-binding to fashion advertising.

Click below to download the full call for papers:

Fashion Theory: Brazilian Fashion

Deadline for abstract submission (300 words): August 1st, 2014; act fast!

Olympic Pride & Hidden Narratives

Hudson's Bay Unveils Official Parade Uniforms for Canadian Olympic Team at Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony (CNW Group/Hudson's Bay Company)

Hudson’s Bay Unveils Official Parade Uniforms for Canadian Olympic Team at Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony (CNW Group/Hudson’s Bay Company)

There have been quite a few articles on the Sochi 2014 olympic fashion so let’s talk about the uniforms. 

As a Canadian, I have mixed feelings about the uniforms designed by the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). The historical significance of this company, which predates the official establishment of Canada, cannot be underestimated. HBC’s history as a crown charter is so intertwined with that of the birth of the Canadian colonies that the two stories cannot be told separately. Our history curriculum inevitably discusses the voyageurs [fur trappers] and the Hudson’s Bay Company’s fur trading posts along Hudson Bay, usually as a starting point to the story of Canada [for more on that story, see here]. Yes, I recognize that this is a Euro-centric view that privileges the colonial settler experience over that of the original native inhabitants.

The Voyageurs by ONFB , National Film Board of Canada

Anyway, so the uniforms…actually, I’m mostly talking about the wool coats; those convey strong sense of symbolism for Canadians. The maple red with a bold black stripe are a direct reference to the iconic HBC blanket, as you’ll see in the video below by the Textile Museum of Canada. It was introduced in 1780 as a trading item at the fur trading posts and became very popular, particularly with the First Nations [read about that history here]. Since then, it has become quite literally a physical manifestation of Canadian identity – a difficult feat for a country that struggles with the question of identity.

Here is the issue with this uniform, and the HBC blanket in general, it embodies two narratives. On the one hand, it symbolizes an enduring link to the voyageurs and all that they represent – the spirit of exploration in a vast rugged wilderness, their strength and pride in the face of adversity, their determination to survive harsh winters which has now also become part of Canadian identity [seriously, people can recount the details of winters past], so much so that the Canadian Olympic Committee slogan for Sochi 2014 is #wearewinter accompanied by Canadian poetry that depicts these attitudes of winter survival. These are the positive associations invoked when our athletes wear this uniform, adding to the sense of Canadian pride and belonging to what Benedict Anderson called the ‘imagined community’.

However, the blankets also hold negative associations. There is evidence that the HBC blanket was linked to the infection of the First Nations people with smallpox at Fort Pitt during the Pontiac Rebellion

This uniform, by association to the HBC blanket, embodies a hidden narrative linked to this aspect of a huge historical trauma inflicted on the First Nations. Are we acknowledging this trauma by celebrating the blanket’s heritage? This is problematic because as this commentary points out:

“Much of the colonial legacy has been swept under the rug, with Canada’s subaltern having little voice in the processes of historiography […] Those privileged by the outcomes of history have had the power to manipulate a symbol representing an inconvenient stain on Canada’s reputation. The erasure of the blanket’s genocidal connotations draws an uncomfortable parallel to the consistent oversight of the subaltern within discourses of Canadian history and identity.”

And this is why I am conflicted over this uniform.

Call For Entires // CapilanoU Textile Arts Students & Alumni

As you know, SA’s Founder, Mary, is a Capilano University alumna with a Diploma in Textile Arts. It was through her education at the Textile Arts Department that she developed a keen interest in responsible fashion. This Diploma is a rare and unique program in the Canadian higher education landscape that has been in existence for 40 years, however, in April 2013, the Textile Arts Department was unceremoniously informed that, along with other arts programs at Cap, the program will be cut due to a budget shortfall. This decision was made without consultation with the students nor the faculty and without any transparency as to the decision process at this public university.

Community action against the cuts and the politics they represent was swift and effective as Capilano University’s Board of Governors rejected the proposed budget and requested that the University administration propose a new one that does not require any program cuts. Consequently, the Senate Budget Advisory Committee went to work on a new proposal. This op-ed outlines some of their findings and alternative ideas:

Capilano University has the same number of faculty members it did in 2009, but serves more than 1000 additional full-time equivalent students. However, the efficiency gains made by faculty have been consumed by the institution’s operating, administrative, and IT costs, which have all expanded by over 40 percent in just four years.

To pay for themselves, administrators want to cut seven percent of the university’s programs to shave one percent off the bottom line. To protect their bloated bureaucracy, they want to eliminate unique and acclaimed programs, reduce opportunities for students, and shrink the university’s revenues.

Our alternative? Continue to nurture Cap’s diverse and accessible program mix by pursuing modest reductions to administrative overhead and expenses, with a return to pre-2012 spending levels. This would cover the current shortfall and allow us the time we need to find longer-term solutions.

Are these radical suggestions? We think not. In fact, the B.C. Universities Act gives faculty broad management power—for example, as stated in Part 8, paragraph 40: “subject to this Act and to the approval of the senate”, faculty may “make rules for the government, direction, and management of the faculty and its affairs and business.”

Unfortunately, despite the flurry of community activism against these cuts and despite proposing an alternative no-cuts budget, the Capilano University Textile Arts Department posted the following update on their Fb page:

On June 11, 2013, the Board of Governors of Capilano University voted (11:2, one abstain and one spoiled ballot) to accept without amendments the Budget put forward by the President which included the course cuts and program intake suspensions that were a part of the original, contested budget of May 14.

Many people believe that this budget and the process that led up to it is in violation of the University Act. In the words of the Capilano Faculty Executive “This is now political”. There is lots to do.

The cuts for the Fall semester of 2013 are now inevitable, but the future is still unfolding.


That future is still unfolding with ongoing protests against the cuts, letter writing campaigns to MPs, MLAs and the Premier, and strong community organizing activities. So, it is in solidarity that Social Alterations is posting both this update and this call for entries from the Capilano University Textile Arts Department asking students and alumni to submit images for an upcoming exhibit.

The Educational Issues Committee is organizing a show of the Programs. The installation is meant to highlight and display how wonderful the program are, and demonstrate the extent of what the institution and students are losing by cutting these programs! We are looking for images that highlight the skills students develop in the programs, and the amazing work which is created. The photos are going to be blown up, (we will be adjusting the DPI) and printed to around 3ft by 4ft, photos will be hung in an installation within the CSU buildings, there will also be a series of smaller photographs displayed. If anyone has great photographs or images of projects that they feel represent the program, and would like to share them with us for the display. 

We are also looking for a caption for each program to go with the photos. Something that not only highlights the amazing knowledge and skills that students develop through the program, but states what the community and students will be losing if these programs disappear.

Please send to :

This struggle is yet another example of the undervaluation and devaluation of the arts in education. There is a serious deficit in our values when we begin to dismiss the importance of a robust and creative environment that nurtures and supports open and diverse artistic and cultural expression. This devaluation is a process that reflects the shift in power relations at universities to a top-down corporate model of governance that ignores community concerns including those of the students who pay tuition and the educators who work hard to improve their institution’s reputation and competitiveness. It’s time for a reevaluation of priorities.

In solidarity,

Social Alterations

For more on the struggle against these cuts and how you can help even if you’re not Cap students or alumni:

Capilano University Textile Arts Department

Studio Art and Textile Art Eviction from Capilano University


Call for Papers // Fashion in Fiction 2014, Hong Kong

I recently ran into Dr. Anne Peirson-Smith at an event and she mentioned that City University of Hong Kong (which happens to be where I’m completing my PhD) is hosting the Fashion in Fiction 2014 conference with the theme Style Stories and Transglobal Narratives. The conference will take place at CityU in Hong Kong from June 12-14, 2014 hosted by the Department of English and the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre.

The conference organizers encourage cross-disciplinary research to address various themes described in the call for papers as such:

“This conference will focus on the material and non-material forms of fashion for a range of professional, commercial, historical, social, cultural and creative purposes. The conference will be international and cross-cultural in order to highlight the largely transglobal, transcultural multiple flows of fashion discourse and to broaden the analysis of fashion beyond a purely traditional Western frame of analysis.”

Possible paper topics include:

• Fashion and/in novels, plays, diaries, short stories
• Fashion and/in films and television programs
• Fashion archives
• Fashion illustration
• Fashion discourse
• Fashion and social media
• Fashion travel
• Fashion and popular culture
• Fashion and cultural hybridity
• Fashion and politics
• Fashion and gender

Click below to see the very detailed call for papers.

Submitted conference papers will be blind peer-reviewed and conference organizers aim to publish accepted submissions either as a journal article or as a book chapter.

Abstract Deadline: February 1, 2014.

Acceptance Notification: February 14, 2014.

More Details: Fashion in Fiction: Style Stories and Transglobal Narratives Call For Papers

Call for Papers // Fashion, Style & Popular Culture

Fashion, Style & Popular Culture seeks academic articles for a Special Issue entitled Latin American / Latino Fashion, Style and Popular Culture.

About the journal: 

Fashion, Style & Popular Culture is concerned with style, fashion, clothing, design, and related trends, as well as appearances and consumption as they relate to popular culture. Scholarship using and/or including: historical, manufacturing, aesthetics, marketing, branding, merchandising, retailing, psychological/ sociological aspects of dress, body image, and cultural identities, in addition to any areas topics such as purchasing, shopping, and the ways in which consumers construct identities are welcome.

Papers from all research methods and disciplines are welcome! Innovative and new popular culture research, scholarship and creative works in the areas of fashion, design, style, the body and consumerism are encouraged!”

Click below for full details in both English and Spanish on the main themes, possible topics and other relevant information:

Fashion, Style & Popular Culture Special Issue: Latin American / Latino Fashion, Style & Popular Culture

Revista de Moda, Estilo y Cultura Popular Edición Especial: Moda, estilo y Cultura Popular en América Latina / Latinos en el exterior

Deadline for submission: February 1st, 2014; act fast!

Update // Cambodian garment workers battle for wage hike

A worker’s sign demanding $160/month minimum wages | Image taken at a rally by Mu Sochua, a Cambodian opposition party MP [click the photo to go to her blog].

Last week, Mary reported on the violent protests in Cambodia which included garment workers who have been demonstrating against a proposed minimum wage increase to US$100/month. The workers have asked for US$160/month which still falls short of the living wage proposed by the Asia Floor Wage Alliance [see the report entitled Latest Asia Floor Wage figure in Local Country Currencies (2012)] of KHR 1178814.60/month which is equivalent to something between US$283-294/month, depending on the exchange rate.

It is important to add that these demonstrations are not limited to wage issues. As I wrote on January 4th on the SA facebook page:

“Keep in mind that this is not just about wages but also stems from a complicated alliance between the numerous unions & the opposition party to challenge Hun Sen’s 28-year rule. This is part of an ongoing movement kickstarted by the July 2013 election which the opposition believes was rigged. They have since boycotted parliament, calling for new elections in daily rallies in Phnom Penh. And in the middle of all this politics is the fashion supply chain.

For a bit more on the background to these protests, listen to the following conversation from the CBC’s As it happens (Jan. 3rd):

Here are some updates specific to the garment industry angle of this story:

  • The protests continued over the week culminating in 5 deaths and around 40 injuries when authorities opened fire. Meanwhile, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) estimates sales losses of US$200 million and project a 30 per cent drop in orders in 2014 due to the protests. GMAC, in a press conference, condoned the military police’s reaction to protesters, and blamed striking workers for all deaths which were described as “collateral damage”.
  • Today’s news reports (see also here) confirm that the protests are suspended (for now) as unions advised workers to go back to work. Union leaders plan a meeting to regroup and rethink their protest strategy.
  • uploaded an open letter from some brands to Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Cabinet of the Prime Minister, the Council of the Ministers, the Chairman of GMAC and union leaders calling for a peaceful resolution of this conflict and expressing deep concern over the violence writing further that “[o]ur primary concerns are for the security and safety of the workers employed by our suppliers and the long-term stability of the Cambodian garment industry.” The brands added “[w]e believe that the only way to resolve this dispute is to cease all forms of violence, and for stakeholders to enter into good faith negotiations, allowing workers to safely return to work without fear of repercussions as soon as possible.” Kudos to the signatory brands: H&M, Gap Inc., Inditex, Adidas Group, Puma, Levi Strauss & Co., and Columbia.
  • Finally, to add an international political economy dimension to these protests, there is a report (see also here) that details the South Korean embassy’s involvement in back channel dealings pressing the Cambodian government to protect Korean interests. South Korea was the largest investor in Cambodia in 2012.

This story is ongoing and we’ll do our best to continue the updates on a regular basis. In the meantime, keep up with events over our Fb page and our twitter feed.

Resources // NPR’s Planet Money Makes a ‘Simple’ T-shirt

Planet Money showing just how little the industry has changed.

Planet Money showing just how little the industry has changed.


Planet Money:

What would you like the people who buy this t-shirt to know about you?

Doris Restrepo, Garment Worker, Medellín, Colombia:

What is behind the T-shirt: It’s a world.

NPR’s Planet Money has released a five chapter series on the production of a conventional t-shirt. This series is an excellent educational resource and is perfect for ‘flipping’ into a short course on our international fashion system. The videos and accompanying articles would also make a fantastic addition to any of SA’s educational resourcesparticularly the SAGE module where we traced the international production of a hypothetical t-shirt from the farm to the landfill and beyond into it’s second-hand life.

Introducing: Planet Money Makes A T-Shirt from NPR on Vimeo.

Inspired by Pietra Rivoli‘s The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade, Planet Money actually hired the Georgetown Professor as an advisor for this series. Needless to say, I highly recommend the The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy as further reading to help gain even deeper insight into the value chain of a ‘simple’ t-shirt. 

This series is an absolute must for anyone interested in the fashion supply chain as a whole and the political, economic, and social issues that surround the production of clothing.

Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt: The world behind a simple shirt, in five chapters

Sandblasting! Part Deux


Killer Jeans. A campaign by Labour Behind the Label and the Clean Clothes Campaign.

The sandblasting saga continues as a completely unnecessary denim distressing technique persists. This despite the fact that around 40 brands banned the use of sandblasting in their supply chains as part of the successful campaign spearheaded by the Clean Clothes Campaign and Labour Behind the Label.

What’s the big deal with sandblasting?

If sandblasting is done under sub par conditions, it almost inevitably results in a lung disease called silicosis. This is not a new disease. It has been well documented and is completely preventable with good ventilation and safety equipment. The disease  develops when people inhale crystalline silica, a basic component of sand, which then causes lung inflammation and scarring potentially leading to death. In an article published in Occupational Medicine, Akgun (2006) investigated the prevalence of silicosis in Turkey’s denim blasting industry and concluded that

“The case series we present here is alarming in that it demonstrates that silicosis, a long-recognized but preventable occupational disease can still occur in previously unrecognized occupations. The occupation of sandblasting denim jeans is relatively new and has developed as a result of changes in fashion in developed countries and the demand for worn-looking jeans. Tragically, this condition has occurred in very young men with an average of only 3 years in this particular occupation. Lack of awareness of the condition and the dangers of silica and inadequate protective measures have already had fatal results. Silicosis is a well-known disease and its clinical forms have been well characterized. The classical form of silicosis usually follows one or more decades of exposure. However, in contrast to the chronic or classical form of silicosis, the accelerated and acute forms result from intense exposure to high levels of respirable dust that contain a significant proportion of silica, and these develop after much shorter duration.”

I highly encourage you to read this short journal article to grasp the seriousness and the severity of this disease particularly when it comes to textile production.

So what else is new?

Last night, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), War on Want and the IHLO (ITUC/GUF Hong Kong Liaison Office) released an incriminating report entitled Breathless for Blue Jeans: Health Hazards in China’s Denim Factories, which uncovers the continued use of sandblasting in China’s denim manufacturing industry. The investigation by SACOM was limited to six denim factories in Guangdong province (just across the border from Hong Kong) which some may think is not a representative sample. However, it is important to keep in mind that China’s textile manufacturing industry is concentrated in two areas, one of which is the Pearl River Delta which primarily covers Guangdong province, a hub for denim – around 50% of global production (CCC 2013. p. 10). Xintang county alone is responsible for “over 260 million pairs of jeans a year, equivalent to 60% of China’s total jeans production, and 40% of the jeans sold in the US each year (Greenpeace 2010).” The factories investigated include two major garment producers with thousands of workers; one of which supplies around 4% of denim sold in the US (CCC 2013, p. 10). The other 4 factories include a smaller production facility and three subcontractors.

The report points out some alarming trends. Although the prevalence of sandblasting has declined between 2009 and 2012, thanks in part to increased consumer awareness and united action on the brand side, promises to eliminate sandblasting have been matched by evasive maneuvers on the manufacturing side:

“One factory reportedly continued its sandblasting on the sly, surreptitiously dismantling the sandblasting machinery and hiding it in advance of inspections…Factories also concealed their sandblasting units behind locked doors and had increased security for these units, limiting access solely to the sandblasters (p. 11).”

In interviews, SACOM found that workers were ordered to dismantle and hide sandblasting equipment in advance of factory inspections and audits, which was then reassembled once auditors exit the premises (p. 13). Furthermore, at one factory, younger workers began to reject sandblasting positions. The management responded by offering a higher wage for the position (p. 12). Therefore, although some workers are aware of the health risks associated with sandblasting they still take the job to secure a higher salary (p. 13). SACOM also outlines the emergence of new techniques designed to replicate the effects of sandblasting such as chemical spraying, bleaching and manual polishing and sanding. These techniques are themselves risky especially when performed without adequate safety equipment (pp. 14-18).

A worker manually polishing jeans in a Chinese factory. Justin Jin/SACOM. (CCC 2013)

SACOM’s findings highlight the importance of unannounced audits with off-site worker interviews in rooting out evasive activities in the supply chain. The report also reminds us that it is essential to remain vigilant when it comes to occupational health and safety especially when new techniques are adopted. Finally, there is a real need to instill a culture of safety beyond the first tier of production and into the lower tiers of the supply chain. This is a major problem in production. For example, look at the photo on page 17 of the report. See the worker smoking his cigarette while spraying the jeans with potassium permanganate? Often times, even when workers are trained to use safety equipment, they still ignore these requirements because the equipment either hampers their production speed, or gets in the way, or is uncomfortable, or they’re not used to it etc… Training is not enough. There has to be a concerted effort by all stakeholders involved to change the way people think about workplace safety and the costs associated with it. It is truly sad that evasion and the expectation that it will happen is an industry norm, leading to supply chain relationships built on suspicion and policing. It’s time for systemic change that aims to transform norms and values related to workplace safety. The view that workers are dispensable production inputs is antiquated, to say the least.



Akgun, M., Mirici, A., Ucar, E. Y., Kantarci, M., Araz, O., & Gorguner, M. (2006). Silicosis in Turkish denim sandblasters. Occupational Medicine56(8), 554-558.

Clean Clothes Campaign, SACOM, IHLO, & War on Want. (2013). Breathless for Blue Jeans: Health hazards in China’s denim factories.

 Greenpeace. (2010). The Dirty Secret Behind Jeans and Bras.

Responsible Fashion Roundup

The Social Alterations team is constantly coming across interesting content from a wide variety of sources. This is a curated selection of thought provoking reading we’ve done in the past month related to responsible fashion.


§ Let’s begin with designer interviews: one well-established and one up-and-coming. Katharine Hamnett talks with The Wild Magazine about her journey to fashion and sustainability, while The Genteel interviews Lucia Cuba on her controversial collection that reflects her passion for socio-political issues in her homeland, Peru.

Stop and Think

“Katharine Hamnett is most famous and recognized for her slogan t-shirts that became wildly popular in the 1980s, bearing slogans such as “Choose Life” and “58% Don’t Want Pershing” (missiles). The statement t-shirts became so widespread that they were copied by nearly everyone in the industry. Perhaps surprisingly, Hamnett welcomed the imitations (The Wild Magazine).”

Fashioning a Political Case

“Under the birth control policies implemented by President Alberto Fujimori’s government, hundreds of thousands of Peruvian men and women were forcibly sterilised over a four-year period in the late-1990s. Amanda Coen looks at how fashion designer and social activist, Lucia Cuba, is raising awareness of this highly contentious subject through her latest project, ARTICULO 6 (The Genteel).”


§ On the sweatshop front, Forever 21 faces an investigation which reminds us that worker issues exist in ‘developed’ countries as well. Meanwhile, although I personally don’t agree with the strategy, some universities have severed their contracts with Adidas.

Forever 21 Under Investigation For Using ‘Sweatshop-Like’ Factories In Los Angeles

“The leggings you just bought at Forever 21 may have more problems with them than an excess of sequins. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Forever 21 clothing is being produced in “sweatshop-like conditions” by workers in Los Angeles-area factories, the agency said in a press release on Thursday (The Huffington Post).”

Universities Dump Adidas Over Labor Disputes

“In its reckless quest to overtake Nike in the sportswear market, Adidas built a footloose global supply chain to force its factories into cut-throat competition (The Nation).”


§ The second season of Vice’s Fashion Week Internationale, a webseries investigating the under-reported fashion weeks in overlooked locales from Cambodia to Nigeria. Vice steps behind the catwalk to look at the realities that exist around fashion and the industry in these countries. PSFK interviewed Charlet Duboc, correspondent and co-producers of the series. I’ve also added a link to the latest episode which just happens to take place in South Korea, a country that’s close to my heart. I strongly encourage you to watch the other episodes, particularly the one about Cambodia. Fascinating! Especially in light of the events that have been taking place there related to garment workers and the living wage debate.

Why don’t we ever hear about Nigerian Fashion Week?

“PSFK talks to the co-producer of Fashion Week Internationale, a VICE series, about communicating the controversial and often unreported issues surrounding under the radar fashion weeks from around the world (PSFK).”

Seoul Fashion Week

Fashion Week Internationale lands in Seoul, the technology and entertainment capital of East Asia. Charlet tries and fails to understand why people there shop at 4 AM, gets a makeover on the subway, and meets Donald King, the loneliest punk in the world (Vice).”


§ The Asia Floor Wage Cambodia published a post on their facebook page that detailed the outcome of the 9th Asia-Europe People’s Forum (9AEPF). Charles Hector reported the following:

“What was interesting was the outcome of the workshop entitled “Combating Erosion of Worker and Trade Union Rights”, which was attended by about 80-100 participants, who did at the end of the 3 1/2 hour program on the 18th afternoon come up with recommendations, all of which were discussed and adopted unanimously….

The call was for the abolition of outsourcing [i.e. the contractor for labour system], and short-term employment contract.

Regular employment with security of tenure until retirement

2-party employment relationships between principals or owners of workplaces as employers, and workers that work in the said workplaces as employees of the said principals and owners.”
§ For a more detailed look into the outcomes of the Forum, read the final declaration published on the AEPF website. There are quite a few interesting recommendations that are long overdue. Whether they will in fact be implemented is another story. After all, our dominant economic paradigm is driven by economic growth (defined in monetary terms) and efficiency (usually related to externalizing costs). Will we be able to force a paradigm shift by redefining the norms and values that underpin our economy? This seems increasingly likely as we begin to face major conflicts (Spain, Greece, Montreal, the Occupy movement etc…) spurred by our current system and the dismantling of the welfare state in favor of austerity measures that are slowly becoming the new status quo. When I consider the fact that Italy’s democratically elected leaders were replaced by undemocratically appointed technocrats, I can’t help but wonder if this is where we’re headed? To whom are governments accountable? If the answer is no longer citizens (and evidence suggests this is the case), then do we even have a say anymore? …let’s get back to fashion.


§ And finally, Mary wanted me to add this article to the roundup: Mike Flanagan (Clothesource) questions the universality of workers’ rights in a recent “Flanarant” for Just Style.

Workers’ rights not a universal option

“Anyone believing that human rights abuses are endemic in offshore production should compare the levels of protection afforded to factory workers in the developing world supplying major Western brands with the experience of garment workers in the West. It’s not as clear-cut as it seems (JustStyle).”