Monday, October 29, 2007

The Blue Jean Story

I pretty much live in blue jeans, and I don't usually get all fashiony when it comes to my jeans. In fact most of my jeans are down-right budget jeans, without a designer label in sight. However I was trying to find a pair of stove-pipe straight jeans to wear with my heels. I love the look of jeans fitted at the ankle with high heels. I tried many different stores, but all the jeans I could find with straight legs also had a mere 2" zipper. In other words they'd be extremely low cut. Now you might get away with that if you are 16yo, but at 46, I'm thinking probably not. I don't need the granny-panties exposed and showing off for everyone!

Anyway last week a girlfriend suggested I try the Gap, and low and behold I found just what I was looking for. They weren't cheap, or at least $80 isn't cheap to me for a pair of jeans, but I felt it was worth it to get what I wanted.

So what do I hear this weekend? That Gap has just been busted for using child labour.

Gap is making it sound like an isolated incident, with it being children's hand-embroidered tops. I've seen hand-sewn quilts at the mall for $30 or $40, and wondered how they could even cover the materials for that price. My Mom makes quilts and for the amount of work that goes into one you shouldn't be able to pick one up for less that ten times that amount. The article goes on to say:

'Employing cheap labour without proper auditing and investigation of your contractor inevitably means children will be used somewhere along the chain. This may not be what they want to hear as they pull off fresh clothes from clean racks in stores but shoppers in the West should be thinking "Why am I only paying £30 for a hand-embroidered top. Who made it for such little cost? Is this top stained with a child's sweat?" That's what they need to ask themselves.'

So what do we do? Boycotts often end up hurting the ones we are trying to help. Pressure needs to be put on these companies to ensure that they are not employing child labour. One way to do that is to buy products made in Canada or the U.S. That can be easier said than done, especially since Levi's closed it's last Canadian factory a few years back. I've just gone through my jeans and found ones made in China, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. But I did find one pair with a "made in Canada" tag in them, so it is possible. I'll have to make a point of checking more closely when I shop.


Sauntering Soul said...

I saw the Gap story too and it makes me so sad. I used to work part-time at Gap Kids way back in the day. I hope this was an isolated situation and I hope it gets the attention of any other companies doing anything similar.

Kare said...

sheesh! I just bought a pair of gap jeans the other day. I had no idea.