The Cultural Curator

Bringing you thoughts on feminism, fashion, food, current affairs, and other cultural goodies…

Minimum Wage is Raised… Minds are Blown.

If you’re a loyal follower of my blog, then it’s no secret to you that I have a serious love/loathe relationship with the fashion industry…

refinery29-january-2012-bi-dng

I love that fashion is art, that it inspires, that it acts as an endlessly changing and evolving form of expression, and that it means that, rather than going naked every day, I get to dress myself up in awesome garments and accessories that scream, ‘Ok, world! Whatever is on the agenda, bring it!’

I loathe the fact that it encourages a warped body image and perception of what beauty is (there are SO many forms, aren’t there?!), that, in order for us ‘Westerners’ to buy our fashion cheap and fast, garment workers in the Global South pay the price with their general well-being and health and sometimes… their lives. Fashion as trendiness and identity at the expense of others doesn’t fly with me, no matter how many times I stand in front of a changing room mirror and ooh and ahh over another ‘must have’ item.

So when Refinery29 posted a recent article about the Gap empire raising its employees’ minimum wage, I cringed a bit. Not because this isn’t a good thing or because I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning (I did… but, anyway, that’s besides the point), but because Refinery29 titled the article, *‘Gap Raises Its Minimum Wage, Everyone Wins’. I can’t help but wonder who ‘everyone’ is. It’s certainly not the workers at the production line, is it? No, it’s not. So, common’ Refinery29, it’s not everyone… now is it.

To the site’s credit, the end of the article did make mention of these low-paid garment workers, but talk is cheap. When we’re standing all high and mighty on our soapboxes, it’s easy to think that we’re eliciting change. But great change doesn’t occur at the round table. Take your written words and rework them into action items. You’re an international cultural hub with a crap load of power and influence… channel that into something awesome and inspiring.

Do regular features on ethical companies (and who is behind them). Use NY Fashion Week to your advantage and curate a fashion show (or an event, maybe?) with talented ethically-minded designers. I have a few in mind. Do collaborations. If your team is as creative as I think they are, then my money is on you to churn out something pretty great.

Now is the time to take your online presence and bring it out onto the streets in a way we haven’t seen before…

I dare you, Refinery29.

* Shortly after I posted this entry, I received the following response from Refinery29:

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Thank you to the good people at Refinery29 who evidently have their heads on their shoulders and their hearts in the right place. Following their response, they went ahead and altered the title of their piece.

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2 comments on “Minimum Wage is Raised… Minds are Blown.

  1. Tamara's Blend
    February 21, 2014

    Great post. I’m on the same page with you about the love/hate relationship regarding the fashion industry. And thumbs up for critical reading!

  2. theculturalcurator
    February 21, 2014

    Thank you for your feedback, Tamara! If you go back to older blog posts, you’ll see that I’ve done quite a bit of writing on this issue. It’s an everyday ‘struggle’ for me as it’s not easy to find clothes that I love that are ALSO ethically produced.

    On that note, I’m working on a few projects at the moment that I think you would be interested in. Follow my blog (if you aren’t already) to keep updated and perhaps to do a collaboration in the future…

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