Monday, August 23, 2004

Welcome to November 2

Welcome to November 2

There is something both hopeful and foreboding about this.

At least I now know where my polling place is (duh, it's on Pratt Parkway, not at the Civic Center. Bleh.).

So, let's see, spent the weekend either shopping for American-made jeans or doing absolutely nothing at home. I feel much better now.

Re: American made jeans. You wanna spend All Freakin' Day shopping? Try to find American (or at least EU) manufactured jeans for under 80 bucks.

There are only a few brands that are made in the U.S. or the E.U. anymore. These are (for shopping reference):

J. Crew (jeans, but chinos are made in Mexico)
Citizens for Humanity
Seven for All Mankind
Levi's Ultimate (not regular Levi's, but the designer ones)
Lucky Jeans
Halogen (made in Canada, but still OK)
Diesel- made in Italy
Wrangler (yep, some styles still made in the USA, but from imported fabric)
Express carries two styles made in Italy or the US

Jeans that are NOT made in America but still sport flags or use Americana as a marketing tool:

Ralph Lauren

Levis and Nauticas run from $19.99 to $69.99 in most stores, while all the U.S. Made jeans I could find were somewhere between $60 and $140 (With the exception of BDG jeans at Urban Outfitters, which were $39 and were, in fact, made in the U.S.A. But they didn't fit for crap and felt flimsy.).

Just goes to show how much it costs to humanely manufacture jeans these days. But I'm biting the bullet and trying on eBay for a pair of Citizens for Humanity Jeans with a maximum bid of $81. They fit the best.

But it also goes to show the kind of labor-intensive shopping one has to do in order to keep a somewhat clean conscience. It's kind of the same slippery slope that vegetarianism produces, though- Okay, I'll just buy non-sweatshop jeans. But then, why is it OK to buy sweatshop-produced tops? Towels? Toys? Athletic shoes? And even if I don't buy those, is it OK to buy things in a store like Target that sells both non-sweatshop produced items that I need, like detergent and CDs, but also sells sweatshop-produced clothing?

It is incredibly difficult to maintain a sweatshop-free lifestyle. But I suppose that, like buying organic whenever you can, any step in the right direction is a good step to make. Voting with dollars is much more effective than a boycott. It all goes back to my basic philosophy- that action is much more effective than inaction. If you don't shave your legs, don't eat meat, don't shop at Wal-Mart, don't watch studio movies and don't listen to corporate music, you aren't really doing anything. In fact, you're not doing a lot of things.

Instead, it is important to act strategically. Buy organic meat instead of none at all. Write letters. Vote. Join groups with like-minded goals. Buy second-hand or buy American or EU-made. Talk to others about your ideals and have arguments. I do this all the time, but for the most part I'm glad to at least get my ideas out there. Even if people disagree with you, your opinion is valid and they can't ignore it unless you keep it to yourself.

Being a consumer, for better or worse, is a large part of being an American. It's important to be the best consumer you possibly can be.

1 comment:

  1. I own multiple pair's of outsourced Levi's and love them to death (511's all the way - and I got them for $29 at Sears!!! Compare that to up to $50 at Levi's stores or Urban Outfitters). However, a few of my other favorite pairs are some grey BDG's (from Urban Outfitters - $49) and a pair of slim slacks from American Apparel ($68).

    Though the slim slacks aren't really "jeans" they practically should be - feel and look like denim...and in every color you could imagine. I'm assuming you're familiar with American Apparel, but if you're not, it's all sweatshop-free clothing (everything from men's/women's/kid's t-shirts/polos/underwear/sleepwear/outerwear/etc.) that fits perfectly and feels like heaven. Check it out.