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Rosemary Grace

Bravo!

My husband and I try to shop with a concience, living in So. California it's fairly easy to do this for groceries toiletries and cleaning products. But we'd be so screwed if we tried to be careful about the sources of our clothes.

Jon

I completely agree with you.

Sarah

A-fucking-men, Charlie.

elayne

I heartily agree with the last two paragraphs, but one big difference between fashion and the war on Iraq is that I, as an individual, have a CHOICE about how much of my money goes to support fashion. (Not very damn much.)

The reason fashionistas don't get called on the carpet like other execs (oil, pharmaceuticals, communications, etc), IMO, is because what they produce is entirely discretionary. No one has to buy a $3000 blouse or a $5000 evening dress or a $1200 pair of shoes - that's completely optional. But we all have to pay our taxes, and most of us will have to buy medicine or gasoline or make a phone call at some point this year.

No one involved in the fashion industry will be sent to jail if they quit their jobs, and no citizen will be investigated if they don't contribute to the industry by buying Jimmy Choos and Prada, but just try to get out of the military because you oppose the war, or try to avoid paying taxes that go to support that war, and see what happens!

By the way, the US telecommunications industry revenues were $865.9 billion in 2005. (Of course, that's just revenue which, like sales, doesn't factor in expenses.) I have friends and relatives who'd argue that the internet is entirely unnecessary - "we got along without it just fine for all those years!" - and a toxin to society in many ways, but I'm quite content to dish out my dough for my high-speed line every month. I'm not defending the fashion industry, exactly, just saying that it's kind of all in how you look at it. Except that a $1200 pair of shoes is just NEVER acceptable, unless maybe they have a laptop built in...

I just realized it's 3 A.M., if this comment makes no sense, that's why.

julie

I hear ya here. I've never thought about it. Well, I've thought about how idiotic it is to spend serious money on clothes, but not the industry as a whole. Good stuff.

Abigail

But aren't we just talking about the economic inequalities of late capitalism? Isn't nearly every other manufacturer paying executives a lot and slaves (I use that word on purpose) a pittance? Why pick on fashion? I absolutely agree that we are vain idiots, I just think the problem is bigger than one industry. The idiot buying the Prada shoes or the idiot buying the Razr - I can't say which is a bigger idiot.

I suppose the world might be a better place if we all wore cheap, comfortable, practical clothing, but it would be kind of boring. I like dressing myself, it is an act of creativity, a mode of expression. I love seeing people who have unique style. There seems to be a movement among young women of knitting and sewing - DIY fashion. We need more of that and less sheepishly following the dictates of Vogue. But good quality clothing, IMO, should cost money. Not absurd couture money, but non-sweatshop stuff costs more. An American Apparel tee is more than a Target one. Of course the American Apparel founder is possibly a sexual predator, but that's another post...

freak

Did you ever see Michael Moore's movie, the one in which Michael Moore tries to get the president of Nike to visit the horrible fenced in "camp" where the employees work/live? The president refuses to go & look at it, even when Michael Moore offers to buy him the ticket. You should see it. It has some other interesting stuff in it. Sorry, I forget the name of it.

Lala

all that and a piece of cheese! Another aspect of that industry that concerns me is the waste. Clothes can be recycled to the Sally Ann but how much of it is still perfectly good and going to landfill?

Charlie

Interesting perspectives.

I must concede that elayne is correct... buying designer clothes is far more of a choice than buying gasoline. But it would be fun to see fashion industry hotshots called before a Senate Committee. Perhaps for their labor practices, if not their prices. Of course, "what happens in Guatemala, stays in Guatemala" ...so the chances of any U.S. action against labor practices in a foreign market is a pure daydream.

* * *

I have not seen the Michael Moore movie that "freak" mentioned. Will hafta check that one out.

* * *

Abigail is also right, tho I'd compare us more to the later Roman Empire. Yes, there are worse offenders than the fashion industry. And I'll be sure to get to them in subsequent rants.

Thanks to all who responded...and keep 'em coming.

Abigail

But Charlie, if we're in the late Roman period, doesn't that mean we are going to, like, die?

Charlie

Abigail - Well, it certainly means that the barbarians are at the gates.

Keith

Hey, Charlie,

Do you really wanna blow a gasket over numbers? Look up the entertainment industry. You missed them in your sights.

The American television, film, and music industry generates so much profit in either one Superbowl commercial, one major movie release, or a hit record that any one of them could eliminate homelessness in America, or go into AIDS research, or so on and so forth. You get the idea!

You wanna talk about vain idiots? Let's see Tom Cruise and Britney Spears are at the head of each right now. I think Truman Capote got it right when he said "It's a scientific fact. For every year a person lives in Hollywood, they lose two points of their IQ."

You also fail to mention that in addition to the magazine industry, television, film, and music are the means we are instructed on how we should dress, talk, walk, interact, be sexy, date, and reproduce. Chew on that one for a while. You will begin gagging soon enough.

Something to grow on! Great rant! Cheers!

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