In light of the recent allegations concerning the ethical standards and practises of a number of major high street chains and fashion retailers, brought forward by Channel 4’s leading investigatory documentary series Dispatches. I thought it necessary to complete an in depth study into the practical application of the moral and social principles adopted by the industry at large today. With this, I hope to point the reader optimistically in a direction that allows them to draw on their own conclusions and establish a non biased and independent understanding. In addition, I will also secure a working commentary on the topical issues regarding the contemporary Fashion and Garment industries. This commentary will sum the piece up and cement a moral standing throughout, whilst providing the reader with the relevant backdrop needed to allow them to come to an unfettered conclusion.
I thought I’d start by highlighting some of the issues depicted in the Channel 4 documentary. I think the predominant issue “Dispatches” pointed out was the idea and utter reality that through a complex chain of contractors, sub-contractors and numerous other members in the supply chain, our cherished high-street stores are not held accountable. It would seem that they are allowed to distance themselves from the voracious intricately woven web of intemperate lies of a corporate driven totalitarianism system. The notion that wealthy conglomerates can assist their financial interests whilst shamelessly and continually breaking their ethical codes of conduct is staggering. This level of nefarious behaviour could not surface in other industries owing to the fact that they are not shy of proper consistent regulation. I can assure you the line is drawn a lot thicker and such moral and ethical standpoints are not crossed without caution.
It seems so blatant and somewhat accepted in our society today that we expect a garment to be the same price as a Grande Latte from Starbucks. It poses me to ask the question; As a society in general, do we really care and consider the proper and moral implications of the clothing we purchase nowadays? I mean, reality is that we all live fast paces lives with a throwaway culture, so with this in mind we are out shopping on our lunch break and if we see something in that 30 minute window and its in the sale, its a given that we ‘ll run out of the store hands waving in the air with sheer contempt and that “just bagged a bargain” type feeling. But, how long does the elation last? This ties and indeed feeds directly into the whole ongoing repetitive cycle of cheap throwaway fashion and the ultimate human cost at the end. The point is that we don’t think twice before making an impulse purchase and either don’t care or have the time to care about where and how our clothing is produced. We’re never happy and eternally seeking enlightenment, often through fast paced life upgrades (a major part being throwaway fashion). We wouldn’t dream of admitting this to ourselves for fear of actually finding out how shallow and egocentric our existence is.
Not that I wish to render an unfathomable image of gloom and self loathing into the mind of the public, I’m of the view that we are not the guilty party in question here. The accountability lies with multinational high-street chains who expect us to invest in them with a perpetual endeavour, whilst in actuality they are unhesitant in their firm grasp on our purse strings. This tends to be accepted in a world where the majority of us are more than ever inclined to make our own assumptions on where we wish to spend our precious disposable income. But what I have a problem with is the assumption from these powerhouse multinationals that we categorically couldn’t care less about the ethical aspects, legitimacy and ultimate human cost of the industry as a whole.
It certainly seems that whilst one of the main reasons behind this idea of churning out cheap disposable fashion is one of monetary decent with an enduring focus on “expense”. With this in mind, If a more thorough time was spent calculating the human expense with regards to conditions, labour, pay and so on, we as a society would not be in this shocking situation in the 21st century. It is frankly dubious and so far-fetched that I’m surprised there hasn’t been an initiative to properly stamp out this kind of misconduct.