Friday, December 23, 2011

Making A Fashion Footprint

When was the last time you read the About Us section on an online store you shopped at? In that section, did it provide a section called Responsibilities? If you happened to see this section, did you read it? Well, I did. And I'll tell you why.

I read an excerpt from Kelly Cutrone's book Normal Gets You Nowhere a couple of days ago. One thing she talked about was how we, as Americans are very unaware of a lot of things in our world. We go about our days spending time thinking about our lives, the lives of those who are close to us, the lives of the Kardashians, what we want to wear, eat, and where we want to party at...And a lot of us (not all) are blithely unaware that we are unconsciously making a choice to stand by and be apart of something when we are absorbed in all of that. We make the choice without ever really deciding to make it. It's made for us because we have so many things that we focus our attention on. Things that do deserve our attention..but things that we never delve deeper into because we don't really think about the fact that it goes further than us.

As a teenage girl, you're not thinking about why Forever 21 is able to sell you cute clothes so cheaply. All you care about is you can shop and get things that you like. You walk into a store, see this great deal on a dress and you're happy that you can purchase something you like without having to spend too much of your money. You buy it, and leave the store. And it ends there.

I know all too well because I was that girl. imagine how disgusted I was with myself when I found out the truth!

But what you don't know is that someone your age, probably even in the country that you live in is working to make you that dress. And they get paid barely nothing. Their working conditions are filthy. They aren't like the ones you have at your job that you hate because your boss is a bitch. They may not have bathrooms or lunch breaks. Basic human rights. And instead of buying dresses, they're scraping together their pay for a meal that isn't going to satisfy them.

The store that plays the upbeat music, providing an atmosphere that the average teenage girl will like, and has all the great, cheap clothes is the same corporation that is allowing people to live this way. It's like getting a huge, creepy smiley face on a test that you completely bombed. You get your paper back with this big ass smiley face on it, and when you remove the sticker, you find a huge, red 'F'. If you're like any normal person, you're gonna put the smiley face back over the 'F' because you want to look at the smiley face rather than be reminded of your failing grade.

Sucks when you think about it that way, huh? And that's why companies get to keep running morality and human rights into the ground. Because we just keep smiling and ignoring the big, red problem. Either by knowing about it and not caring, or not caring enough to know about it. I won't even talk about how many times they've been accused of stealing designs. As if being a young and unknown designer isn't hard enough, you have a multi-billion dollar corporation stealing your ideas and mass producing them, giving you absolutely no credit whatsoever. Talk about a crime of fashion.

I was on today, browsing. And I started adding a few things to my cart. I went to my cart to review what I had and thought about Kelly's words. So I went to the About Us section. Then I went to the Responsibilities section. And I started to read. 

Even though I love the stuff they have at Topshop, I can rarely shop it. It's a bit pricey for me at the moment, but I use a lot of their stuff for Polyvore sets or just when I feel like online window shopping. (Yes, people do that). I never resented Topshop for being pricey because I am a firm believer in the phrase "You get what you pay for". They have so many nice things there and they're priced highly for a reason. Sometimes it can get a bit ridiculous, but most of the time, I think things are fairly pricey.

This is what I read: (Excuse my laziness, I don't feel like paraphrasing)

Our core values relating to any of our activities are integrity, dialogue, transparency, excellence and innovation.

Through our programme, we intend to have a positive impact on the people we touch through our operations.
We encourage open discussions with any organisation wanting to improve our current working conditions and conditions within the communities we work in. Our programme will focus our attitudes, procedures and practices on the issues that are important to our stakeholders.


We have long-term relationships with our suppliers. We work with them to make lasting improvements to working, social and environmental conditions. Our programme is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) core labour standards and other relevant guidance, good practice and regulations.

Our programme deals with issues important to our stakeholders, such as working conditions, livelihoods of the people who make our products, community involvement and the reduction of the environmental impact resulting from the manufacture, distribution and sale of our products.
You can also check out their Fashion Footprint FAQs here.

After reading this, I decided to support Topshop 100% and try to shop there a little more often. I also decided to check out the other brands that are participants of Fashion Footprint Social Responsibility. It's worth it to support a brand who sells things priced a little higher than I can afford when they are apart of a bigger mission. I respect that more than a great sale (which they do have from time to time). Now, I just want more stores and corporations to do the same! Maybe if we put a little pressure on them, things will change. TIME magazine named The Protester person of the year for a reason. We can do it if we're committed enough.

I hope that you took the time to read that because I find it EXTREMELY important to be informed on the companies that you are supporting. It's also important to remember that each time you shop somewhere or purchase something from a company, you are, whether you know it or not, standing behind that company's values and code of ethics. How can you stand by something you know nothing about? So here's a challenge. Create your own Fashion Footprint. Get informed on the main places that you shop at and what they stand for. Just being more aware can make the world a better place.


  1. Very valid points, I think consumers are being increasingly concerned about where fashion comes from and that things are produced ethically.

  2. Great post! I think most consumers only care about buying cheap and ignore the fact that the cost is much higher than they imagine...
    I always check that section. Always.

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  4. Hello there!

    My name is Cliff and I'm holding The Sartorialist book by Scott Schuman giveaway right now. I'm so happy that I'm here to officially invite you to join the giveaway, it's open internationally. I'm so excited that you have the chance to win. Thank you so much for your time! :) Click HERE for the giveaway!


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