the blogging world is abuzz with fashion week news, talking about which collections are their favourite, what is the hot new colour palette, and who was in the front row. that's fun and all, but how about some food for thought: craftivist Sarah Corbett of the London Craftivist Collective snuck into the London Fashion Week premises to leave this lovely message:
Lowest paid models at London Fashion Week paid £125 an hour. Majority of garment workers in Vietnam paid £25 a month. - love from the Craftivist Collective
this news courtesy of mr x stitch, via the lovely mccall. simple, beautiful, powerful stuff. this amazing team are forcing people to pay attention to the massive discrepancies and rampant abuse of worker's rights, all while using fashion's very own tools, a needle and thread. talk about using the master's tools to dismantle the master's house...
i really like this kind of activism, which has been coined as "craftivism." it's in your face without being flashy. simple and to the point, presenting the viewer with a fact that is confrontational and hard to forget. for some more context, let's look at the london craftivist collective's manifesto:
To expose the scandal of global poverty, and human rights injustices though the power of craft and public art. This will be done through provocative, non-violent creative actions.
after a bit of digging around, i found that this is far from the first fashion related craftivist activity that has happened! here are some more lovely projects.
and of course, my favourite part: "love fashion, hate sweatshops." click here to read more about this initiative.
courtesy of the sugar paper gang
happy link perusing!
EDITED TO ADD:
the first photo has been making the rounds on tumblr, and i wanted to add what i thought were some interesting reflections and statements.
Those two statements aren’t correlated. Garments worn in fashion week are not made in Vietnam for pennies an hour. The garments made in Vietnam are the things sold at stores like Forever 21 to people who want to look like they buy designer goods but don’t want to pay designer prices (or pay the high prices of goods manufacured in the United States). Fashion week isn’t the problem, fast fashion stores that will do anything to have goods made faster and cheaper and the people who shop those stores are the problem.and some wise words from materialworld:
Co-relation point = well, yes but no.
The message is simplistic for impact, but it’s also an oversimplification that cheap brands exploit workers while expensive designer labels don’t. In Australia this has been disproven by rights monitoring agencies including Fair Wear, as labels may outsource for some items in a range only, produce the garments in-house from under-priced outsourced fabrics, or produce multiple ranges for different economic niches with different production ethics in each.
Eco-Chic by Matilda Lee gives a handy, more UK focussed introduction to the unseen supply/demand impacts of trend based fashion, if anyone is interested.
I don’t interpret this as directed at any particular Fashion Week label anyway. More a general, clever, protest of the way global fashion cultures - which Fashion Week sets trends for - privilege women in wealthier nations as objects of desire or consumers over those women in the majority world supply chain as labourers.i think both people raise very important and interesting points. i completely agree with materialworld's last point: the fact that this kind of craftivism is at least in some manner confronting the unfair and exploitative world of who imagines, who creates, and who consumes fashion. i think this could start a very important conversation about the relationship that fashion weeks around the world have to the "fast fashion" industry that we are so quick to criticize, while simultaneously upholding these unproven statements that the "higher" fashion industries (prêt à porter, haute couture, runways shows, etc) do not play a part in exploitation.
in my opinion, stating something like "fashion week isn't the problem, fast fashion is" as antibromide does is just too reductive for me to swallow.
what do you think?
Love Fashion, Hate Sweatshops
Craftivist Collective's flickr stream
Radical Cross Stitch