This post might make you fired up.
This post might make you mad at me and mad at your favorite store.
This post might ruin your life.
Over the past year and a half, I've revolutionized my shopping by utilizing my purchasing power at second-hand stores, Insta-sales (Instagram shops that support various ministries and adoptions by selling lightly used clothing), and a number of online retailers that abide by fair trade principles.
Need ideas? Check out my Pinterest board for fair trade ideas for women, men, children and the home.
The other thing I've done is AVOID shopping at certain retailers because of their labor practices. Where I spend my money communicates my values to the marketplace. I cast a vote for worker's rights with every dollar I spend.
Here's where I might make you really mad. But it's ok. I've been known to ruin my friend's lives (in regards to their shopping habits) and I'm ok with it. After all, you know what they say: #sorrynotsorry
Forever 21 is one of the worst places you can shop.
On a grading scale from A (the best) to F (the worst), they consistently received a "D" grade on:
- worker rights
- use of excessive overtime
- they don't guarantee their workers a living wage, or even a local minimum wage (which is rarely enough to actually live on)
- they have not taken steps toward responsible purchasing, even though they have a code against child labor and forced labor.
I wish I was making this up, but I'm not.
The Huffington Post, in their sweatshop investigation, explores "how the leggings you just bought [from Forever 21] may have more problems than just an excess of sequins."
The US Department of Labor revealed evidence of significant labor violations:
"Since 2008, our investigators have identified dozens of manufacturers producing goods for Forever 21 under sweatshop-like conditions," said Ruben Rosalez, regional administrator for the division in the West. "When companies like Forever 21 refuse to comply with subpoenas, they demonstrate a clear disregard for the law, and the Labor Department will use all enforcement tools available to recover workers' wages and hold employers accountable." (read more)If you need even more convincing, here are some additional articles:
- "Forever 21's Fast (and Loose) Fashion Empire" by Business Week Magazine from January 20, 2011
- "Forever 21 Fueling Modern Day Slavery" by Ecouterre from November 23, 2012
- "Forever 21 Fortune" by Forbes Magazine from April 29, 2009
One of the most unfortunate things about Forever 21 is that they print John 3:16 on the bottom of all their shopping bags without any regard to God's love for the world. Last time I checked, the "world" refers to ALL people, from every tribe, nation and tongue, from every economic status, with every job title.
The "world" means those living and working in desperate, horrific conditions like Forever 21's cotton growers, cotton pickers, fabric dyers and garment sewers... those exploited by the company's cheap and fast fashion.
Until they make drastic changes to how they source their products and treat their workers, I will not set foot in their store. (I recently had a nightmare where I was stuck inside of one. Yikes.)
Yes, Noonday Collection is more expensive than Forever 21. Things have to cost more to ensure dignity and sustainability among our artisans. Consider the real expense when you find a bargain.
Everything at Noonday Collection is handmade. NO factories are involved in producing any of our products. All our workers are ensured a living wage. (Often times this is higher than minimum wage.) And everything is made with love by people working their way out of poverty. Entire communities and families are being transformed. Nearly 9,000 family members are impacted.
Dominique at the Let's Be Fair blog compares popular retailers like Anthropology and Urban Outfitters with their fair trade counterparts. I love this concept so much that I did my own comparison with some of Forever 21's products.
Because human lives are worth the price difference. Click the links below to see for yourself.
Curious how your favorite retailer measures up?
Look them up on Not For Sale's "Free to Work" website. Their article, Apparel Industry Trends: From Farm to Factory, "ranks 300 apparel brands on their efforts to address child and forced labor in their supply chains. It provides a picture of the practices of industry leaders, and calls out brands that fuel modern slavery through their negligence."
And now for today's GIVEAWAY... a $50 gift card for you to spend on the Noonday item of your choice!
Enter yesterday's giveaway from Tesney, a hero in the adoption world and the fiercest adoptive mama I know, and hop over to Mandy's inspiring post and giveaway tomorrow!
a Rafflecopter giveaway