Archive for the ‘moral quandary’ Category

September 16, 2008

makers, can we discuss?

ok, first, do a search for “octopus” on etsy.
no. wait. i did it for you.

i’m not trying to be a pain. really, i’m not.
i just want to know how/why it is considered “making” or “art” or “yours” if really all you’re doing is sticking a chain on a charm in pretty much the exact same way as 300,000 other people. ok, so you added a rock or some other charms that dangle from the octopus’ arms. now it’s yours? now you feel ok selling it as your work?

yes, as a matter of fact, i do have more important things to attend to this evening. but it seemed that my instant recoiling in disgust from such practices prompted a necessary questioning of myself: why? why does this bother me so much? *tons* of other makers who sew stitch up very similar styles and use the same fabrics and motifs. fashion itself is nothing if not repetitive, derivative. why don’t i feel the need to pummel my fellow dressmakers?

so i pondered this and decided that really what irks me most is the anonymity of this sort of appropriation. where is the mark of the maker to be found in a dime-a-dozen charm strung on a store-bought chain? in clip art? maybe i’m just not a fan of collage? i don’t know. am i wrong? am i missing something here or is this pure capitalism masquerading as handmade?

i’m not necessarily anti-capitalist. maybe. but this seems deceptive.
put me in my place here.

July 24, 2008

oh, the gap. get it together, will you?
“made in the usa” doesn’t necessarily mean ethically made.
just another good reason to buy handmade, vintage or thrift!

May 29, 2008

was anyone else disappointed by this nyt article about the ridiculously cheap clothing market? not to sound preachy, but i honestly cannot bring myself to shop in any store where the prices are suspiciously low. i know people (very smart and good people) who become ravenously psyched over the idea of a $10 jean jacket, but i can’t help but wonder how that sort of thing is even possible. i was hoping that the article would address in more explicit terms why and how the training of consumers to expect LOW LOW or at-cost prices is dangerous and wrong-headed and morally corrupt, but it didn’t really.

ah well.

almost a year ago now i decided to stop buying mass-produced clothing all together (with the exception of shoes, though i still refuse to buy Liberty print nikes, glorious though they may be) unless, like the loomstate jeans i bought in the fall, they’re made from organic/sustainable fibers. so far it’s been kind of awesome. not only has my clothing purchasing all but ceased (i will admit that for a while, before moving to new york, it could be said that i had a “problem” with spending on clothes and shoes) but i’ve started to think a lot more about potential purchases. as the article states, if my new way of shopping becomes more common, that might be bad news for retailers, but i also see it as a great opportunity to rework the backwards market towards a more economically and environmentally sustainable system.

what do you think? do you have an ethical checklist to tick off before pulling out your wallet or has shopping in general just become far too complicated?