Black looks good on Hollywood.
The Golden Globes saw stars decked out in the finest dark threads proudly displaying their support for the much-needed Time’s Up protest to draw attention to sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace and beyond.
If you looked closely, you might have seen the Time’s Up badge pinned to celebrities’ chests. And from $12 (£8.87) to $15 (£11.09) you can buy your own merchandise to support the movement.
American designer Rachelle Hruska MacPherson has also adopted the campaign as part of her Lingua Franca brand which now sells sweaters with Time’s Up embroidered on it for $380.00 (£280.83).
But should the movement be monetised?
It might seem like the answer’s an automatic ‘no’, but the Time’s Up campaign is one which aims to send 100% of its profits to the legal defence fund which provides subsidized fees for victims of harassment and abuse. Lingua Franca will also donate $100 from each sale of its jumper to the fund.
Other mainstream brands like H&M, ASOS, and Misguided, however, can hardly defend themselves when they capitalise on a social justice movement to boost sales.
A wave of feminist fashion has taken over the high street in the last few years with retailers jumping on the bandwagon in the name of empowerment.
The likes of H&M, Topshop, and Primark boast the ideology but are still the same brands that have been known to employ sweatshop labour for their merchandise.
Such labels exploit the garment industry in developing countries like Bangladesh where 85% of the poorly-paid workers are women.
What about the rights of these woman getting paid £25 a month, the ones that finish a 14/16-hour shift at 3am and return at 7:30am?
What about the ones that work in unsafe, cramped conditions, face sexual harassment and discrimination all at the mercy of Western brands that produce the demand?
Visibility is important for the cause but do we really need to be buying from these chain retailers to support it?
There’s also the indispensability factor. What happens when it’s no longer on trend? Do people wear it to show their trendiness or their savviness for gender, racial and sexual inequality?
Men and women who choose to buy it are not wrong – your intentions are good, but perhaps you should buy outfits decked out in feminist messages from more ethical sources; from independent sellers who do a lot more than the likes of high street shops.
There’s nothing wrong with experimenting with fashion, especially if it gives you a confident boost and makes you feel totally badass.
But if you choose to wear such clothes, make sure you’re also joining in on the conversation and actively taking part in the cause. It’s much more than just a token.
Brands like H&M, Topshop, Zara, Primark might want to learn a bit more about ethical wear, and in the meantime also address another issue – the lack of pockets on trousers and dresses on women’s clothing. Please.
We’ve reached out to H&M, Zara, Topshop, and Primark for their thoughts, and will update this piece if we hear back.
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