STITCHED UP: THE ANTI-CAPITALIST BOOK OF FASHION by Tansy E. Hoskins

There’s a reason we don’t think consciously about the people who physically make our clothes. That distance is part of an ideology that keeps us complacent. So long as we don’t care about sweatshop workers as people, others will continue to profit off them. As Tansy E. Hoskins explains, we need to make the system visible in order to challenge it. Those making next to nothing, working in unsafe conditions, the young the tired the hungry–they are enslaved. And every single piece of clothing you’re wearing was made by them. Designer or not. There’s no way to buy clothes that are ethical in the current system. Somewhere down the line, someone was exploited. And that flows all the way up to the cashier that rings you up, who is similarly trading hours of their life for just a little bit of money.

But it’s not just our disconnection from other people. We are also unaligned with nature, again, because there are people making money off the destruction of the natural world. They can afford to hide it all from us even though they’re literally the only ones who even need that much clothes. We purposefully don’t care about the animal torture or crazy amounts of pollution and poisoning going on. Just keep it over there. All we need on the consumer side are the fantasy elements. The models and shows and shoots and marketing. This book goes beyond suggesting we simply buy less stuff. We need to be more creative in thinking about a workforce in which people do not simply turn over the products they made to a boss in exchange for a fraction of the amount that will be collected later as profit. It means dismantling what we think of as ownership and instead giving people a stake and say in things like production and distribution. Something capitalism takes away is our imagination–our sense of creation and re-creation.

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