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Friday, September 26, 2014

My Awfully Cheap Cosmopolitan Wardrobe

Some 1,100 died in recent Bagladesh garment factory collapse
"Come now, you rich, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten... Listen! The wages of the laborers ...which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and their cries have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts."
James 5:4

According to a check of clothing labels in my wardrobe, I benefit from the near slave-wage labor of garment workers in over a dozen countries, many of them making less than $100 a month. I found only three of my older jackets and one shirt with "Made in the USA" labels.

These are among the more common countries represented:

Vietnam
Bangladesh
Indonesia
China
Cambodia
Indonesia
Dominican Republic
Korea
Mexico
Pakistan
Philippines
Lesotho

Thanks to the thousands of underpaid workers putting in long hours in oppressive environments who are manufacturing and transporting my clothes and shoes, I have the luxury of getting to decide what combination of things to wear every day, choices few of them can afford. I also have the problem of deciding what items to get rid of to avoid overcrowding our modest size closet. Some of my items were purchased at our local thrift store to begin with, but I'm still extremely rich, wardrobe-wise, when compared to those who toil day after day sewing all of my stuff.

This morning as I dressed for the day I breathed a prayer for these desperately poor clothing servants and their families. Are we willing to pay more in order to provide more decent conditions for them?

Meanwhile, I just learned that a new store, Green Hummingbird Fair Trade Clothing, has opened at 320 S. Main Street in Harrisonburg, and will be having its Grand Opening Saturday, October 4, from 1-5 p.m., complete with food, music, door prizes, a fashion show, and massages.

Doesn't look like there's much here for men, but I'm glad that at least someone is promoting fair trade in our community, along with places like Artisans' Hope, 821A Mt. Clinton Pike, and Ten Thousand Villages at 181 S. Main Street in Harrisonburg.
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