How many times have you exclaimed to your mates, “I’ve got nothing to wear”, or “there’s not enough closet space” or “there’s a sale on at…!” I know I have. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve already started thinking about my ‘summer look’. What’s ‘in’? What’s ‘out’? What’s it going to be for 2014?
It would seem to me that there are two things ‘in fashion’ at the moment. One is clothing.
The other is trafficking.
I hear and see both talked about everywhere, and whilst the former is attractive, the latter leaves me feeling really uncomfortable.
When I buy clothes to ‘be in’, I don’t usually consider the ecological impacts of my purchases, the labour conditions in which they were produced, or the distribution of wealth along the supply chain. These questions seem a world apart from the shopping outlets I visit for my summer look. Sadly, they’re more closely linked than I’d like to admit.
We’ve all heard stories and statistics about trafficking. They leave me feeling powerless to act and like they should be the responsibility of somebody else. But, if they are always the responsibility of somebody else, we detach ourselves from the world in which we are attached. And the issues still remain.
Paul writes to the church in Corinth saying, ‘The body is one, though it has many parts…the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor the head say to the feet, “I have no need of you.”’ (1 Cor 12.21) In the same way, we are like the body. Interconnected. Interdependent. We cannot dismiss one from the other. ‘If one member is honoured, all rejoice together; if one member suffers, all suffer together.’ (1 Cor 12.26) When we ignore the impact of our shopping choices, we are rejoicing at the expense of other parts of the body suffering. We must connect and honour our global neighbours, for we are one body and we must all rejoice together.
#MyNextBuy emerged out of a Tearfund conference I went to last weekend, Mosaic. The vision is to be part of stopping trafficking in the cotton industry, so that you and I are able to wear traffic free clothing. We’re doing this in two ways; firstly, asking British clothes retailers to pledge that they will remove trafficking from their supply chains and secondly that we pledge to make changes within our own lifestyle in the way we buy clothes. That way we’re not just shifting the blame, but we’re all part of it together- retailers and consumers alike.
We have a responsibility to the parts of the body that are suffering. Rather than just thinking about what fashion is ‘in’ this summer, will you help put trafficking ‘out’ of fashion?
Alex Perkin is a friend of ours. He used to work with Soul Survivor and is now studying at university but keeps in touch with us still. Alex set up this campaign after the conference last week and we thought you’d like to hear all about it!