Conflict Handbags

WhatWouldJoanDo

New member
Hi Specktra guys and gals!

With regards to makeup many of us are concerned about getting green and/or cruelty free cosmetics and skincare, but I haven't come across anything on Specktra about ethical clothing/accessory/handbags. This week in Forbes there was an article about the Conflict Handbags made by Michael Kors, DKNY, Burberry, Kate Spade, and Coach. Specifically, "workers complained they were forced to stand during 12-hour shifts with only two toilet breaks, forbidden to drink water while on the job".
This really bothers me, especially because I see so many of these purses around the city everyday. Now and in the future I will not buy any one of these products and not use any of these items that I currently have until I hear that the situation has changed. As I see it, using these bags is a form of advertisement since the styles alone, in the rare absence of obnoxious logo'ing, are so recognizable.

http://blogs.forbes.com/gordonchang/2011/06/26/chinas-conflict-handbags/
 

Miss QQ

New member
Thanks for sharing. That is disgusting, I will not purchase from these brands any time soon too.
 

shadowaddict

Active member
Geez. Thanks for posting this. I have a lovely classic black Michael Kors bag that I like to carry in the winter. I agree I will not carry it until things change. I will not support this type of less than human working conditions.

That is just absolutley horrible any way you look at it. But especially so when you consider the price of these items.
 

ElvenEyes

New member
Thank you for sharing the article. Yes the conditions are horrifying. Sadly this has been going on for over 30 years in China, Korea, Cambodia, Central and South America and many other countries with products you wear or use every day. Clothes, leather goods, coffee, candy, food goods, cosmetics, shampoos, you name it. The list is long. Companies choose to outsource in 3rd world countries because they know they can pay people so much less than over here or in Europe. But the problem rarely lies with the actual company. They hire locals to look over these plants and when the do come over to check on them the workers are hushed or threatened to be fired or worse, and the factories are cleaned up and everything looks fine. One factory can change its practices but the factory next door will still be running horribly. It is the countries themselves that have to change. Better pay, better working conditions, less hours, etc. And they usually need to change in a myriad of ways; their way of life, their government, their schools, etc. It is hard to know what to do. I have experienced this first hand with people who fled countries in Central America, explaining their work situations, riding in hot lorries with no water, no stops to go to the bathroom, for hours just to get to the coffee fields, where they are often whipped. The slave trade, all over again. But they also explained that they tolerate it because there is no other work. The wives have to stay home with their children (usually large families) and can only make crafts to sell at tourist fairs once a month in cities several days away. If they don't work their families starve and die. We spoke about boycotting companies and they said that does not work or matter. The places close and they are then without a job. It is the governments that need to change, one country at a time. I wish I had an answer. Whenever people rise up, they are murdered. But sometimes they win the battle if the persist. We are seeing this now in many of the Middle-East countries. It makes you wonder if things will really change or if things will slide back into what is familiar. I am friends with a family who fled Guatamala back in the 80's because he taught English and math to his village so they would not be cheated out when selling their wares and his wife taught the women hygiene, especially for babies, to lower the mortality rate. They had to flee the country because the death squads had been ordered to kill them and their 7 young children. For over a month they went from hideout to hideout, slowly moving to the border, sneaking over, then moving up to my area. I was there when they arrived. I was there when they had to wear masks while TV crews filmed them because if they were recognized their whole village would be massacred. They could not wear their traditional clothing because each village had a particular pattern woven into their clothing that represented the area or village they were from. Anyhow, I am rambling. All these situations are referred to as the "Hidden Holocaust". There are some very nasty things going on in the world that we know very little of.

So, on that not so happy note, I start my day...
 

WhatWouldJoanDo

New member
I tend to disagree about the part of it not being dependent or rarely lying within the company. I think the company and the consumer has an enormous role in creating and benefiting/profiting from conflict working conditions, and conversely companies and consumers can extinguish conflict economies and contribute to the rising up of ethical industries. At the very least we can put pressure on companies to change: inspect (inspectors) and invest the time to ensure that companies are run in an ethical manner "at home", for example American Apparel and Under Cover Boss, fare-trade coffee, cruelty-free cosmetics are all pushing towards a better direction; and of increasing importance, is to do inspections/due diligence of factories off-shore. It's not 30 years ago, it's not 20 years ago, it's not even 10 years ago, it's 2011 and ignorance is no longer an acceptable excuse: companies know that abuse in factories is not supported by today's consumer, we as a global society today have morals of equality for all. Things are no longer truly hidden, there is an awareness of a need to be proactive in creating an environment that does not support abusive behaviour so there isn't an excuse for these companies/brands; they are accountable.
 

WhatWouldJoanDo

New member
Agree whole-heartedly.

Geez. Thanks for posting this. I have a lovely classic black Michael Kors bag that I like to carry in the winter. I agree I will not carry it until things change. I will not support this type of less than human working conditions.

That is just absolutley horrible any way you look at it. But especially so when you consider the price of these items.
 

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