Thursday, 16 May 2013

inexpensive fashion & its harsh reality.

A while ago before I started this blog, my sisters and I started up an instagram account called 'joefreshdoesitagain'. This is not an original idea as there is a targetdoesitagain account that we love. We figured it would be fun to make up our own account with a Canadian brand that we often don ourselves and on my kidlet. 

We are all on a budget but still enjoy grabbing a fashionable find here and there so we thought joe fresh would be the perfect fit for this fun endeavor. We began trying on a few items and snapping some dressing room photos. We loved how we got to take a bit of time out of our grocery shopping adventures to style and dress up in joe clothes. 

It may seem silly to go dress up and take photos of yourself but we loved trying on clothes for fun but still having a viable purpose. We quickly gained quite a few followers (some that we didn't even know!) and loved chatting joe fresh style in the comments. 

Then the tragedy in Bangladesh happened. 

The girls and I didn't know what to do. This horrific scene was a result of poor working conditions and a severe neglect for worker's safety. Personally, I felt ashamed that I had this instagram account filled with praise for a brand that obviously wasn't being thorough enough to protect the people who work ridiculously hard to create these garments that we get for such a good price. 

So we all stopped. We had been posting daily and once it all soaked in we went insta-silent. 

The lives of these families have been changed forever and I cannot imagine the magnitude of that. Sadly, my severely limited white lady experience is also blind to the daily lives of EVERYONE in Bangladesh and other third world countries. 

My step-father once said that we all have won the lottery simply by being born in a first world country. This could not be more applicable to this situation. I am guessing most of the readers of this blog do not have any idea what it is to live with no doors & windows, in overly crowded areas and abject squalor. When we hear that people make a few dollars a week we are horrified. 

Lesley Jeffries, an old political science professor of mine once spoke in class about how one 1st world baby takes up the same amount of resources of something like 75-100 babies of a third world country. Disgusting isn't it? 

How do we deal with all of this excruciatingly devastating information? 

The truth is, I don't know. It is always in the back of my head when I see sweet clothing deals. I feel like I am trampling on people just so I save myself a couple of bucks. 

However, when I see people freaking out at companies like joe fresh, I have to wonder. Did you not know? How could you not figure out that these things were being made in a place other than glistening, shiny Canada? You simply cannot get a t-shirt or a pair of pants for under 10 dollars without there being costs cut somewhere. 

This is why in the the end, I am okay with how things have played out. joe fresh was one of 37 companies creating garments in this factory. But ,they cater to our current economy. They know their customer wants an inexpensive product and they are figuring out a way to make this happen. However, A DRASTIC oversight was made and something beyond horrific happened. A great deal of other companies are against proposed safety regulations while joe fresh is BEYOND in favor of them

I have watched this all go down and feel like the team at loblaws handled this tragedy as best they could. The dialogue was consistently open and nothing was being deleted off their facebook or other social media outlets. They have a host of updates regarding the situation and the lengths they have gone to help correct the situation with monetary compensation and new business practices is exceptional.

As much as it pains me to say, this is our 1st world reality. I hate feeling insensitive to the subject but in all honesty, I cannot afford to buy 'made in Canada' clothing. 80% of the time my families clothes are second hand, but none of those clothes are made in Canada either. 

I feel okay with how joe fresh handled this situation. Taking into account the cold and honest reality of our world today has to be done here. These people in these countries still need jobs. Their wages may not be fair by our standards but we can only push companies like joe fresh to, AT THE VERY LEAST, ensure their safety when producing these garments. Backing out and taking away business from a country like Bangladesh is not the way to go. 

Seeing other brands wanting to take the sneaky way out is even more appalling. Owning up, changing and making amends is BY FAR the better solution. 

So, we are starting back up again. 

We are proud to support joe fresh and their efforts and hope that other companies can take a lesson in responsibility when it comes to the realities of the manufacturing chain in the world today. Don't bail. Deal with reality. Make things better. 


  1. Well said, Jojo! As a consumer much closer to broke-ass than wealthy, I agree shopping "Made in Canada" is not feasible most of the time. Maybe it comes down to us wanting/having too much. (Written after buying ANOTHER pair of shoes online)...

    1. I definitely think it does come down to the wanting/having too much Jac...I always know I could do well with less but the generosity abounds with everyone around me...We are just so lucky to 'be in this place'
      as ridiculous as it sounds. We can't escape our existence just as they can't.