As some of you may know, I am a big fan of buying American, and buying union when possible. I feel that it is important to support companies that treat workers fairly, and for the good of my economy, I need to support it.
I also feel that encouraging fair labor practices and wages in developing countries isn’t just the humanitarian thing to do, but the smart thing to do. An educated and comfortable society may be less likely to despair enough to fall under the spells of extremism and violence.
This is why I was pretty happy to find theTarsian & Blinkley catalog, a catalog of clothing made by women in Afghanistan, a company that claims to pay them fair wages and educate them. This can only be a good thing.
This company won an award, probably about $25,000 worth. A nice little sum to encourage a business, right?
So of course, you would think that these clothes may be affordable. Perhaps a bit expensive for being imported, but surely something that you could buy as a treat, something nice, and something that would make you feel good.
Well, first of all, a company that decides that size 11 is a large (average is 14 in the USA), right off the bat, isn’t in touch with the American woman, not the average American woman at least. Whilst trying to liberate women in a foreign country, they are encouraging the holding American women to the Hollywood and Supermodel standards of beauty, instead of celebrating women everywhere. To top it off, some don’t go as high as a large, some are only a medium, which is a size 8.
Secondly, the prices. They’re VERY high. One hundred and fifty two dollars for a shirt is outrageous. How much is the woman getting for this shirt? I know that I could do quite a bit with $100 myself, for example. I’d be able to feed my family dinner for a week if I was frugal (I am), could you imagine what I could do in a country like Afghanistan with that kind of money? And that is one shirt! Shipping isn’t bad though, just $10, I guess since they have stores in the USA, including here in Brooklyn, they don’t have to ship it that far.
So I guess if I want to support fair trade practices, I’m going to have to buy little trinkets at the Body Shop, and pay attention to which coffee brands I buy.