on saving the world…(#2)

Written by geoff holsclaw : November 2, 2007

There is GAP between what we wear and where its made.
This GAP is found at the GAP.

Several years ago, my wife and I began boycotting The Gap Inc. (The Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy) because of their poor record of producing their clothing in sweatshops. Cyd, my wife, also went to India as worked briefly with International Justice Mission in regard to bonded child labor (child slavery), we became even more concerned about who and where our clothing is made. So when I saw this article about child labor in India and the Gap, my heart broke again.

“Amitosh concentrates as he pulls the loops of thread through tiny plastic beads and sequins on the toddler’s blouse he is making. Dripping with sweat, his hair is thinly coated in dust. In Hindi his name means ‘happiness’. The hand-embroidered garment on which his tiny needle is working bears the distinctive logo of international fashion chain Gap. Amitosh is 10….Beside him on a wooden stool are his only belongings: a tattered comic, a penknife, a plastic comb and a torn blanket with an elephant motif.”

Even in spite of it purported social responsibility, the system The Gap is part of is still such that

“it is an impossible task to track down all of these terrible sweatshops, particularly in the garment industry when you need little more than a basement or an attic crammed with small children to make a healthy profit…Gap may be one of the best-known fashion brands with a public commitment to social responsibility, but the employment [by subcontractors ultimately supplying major international retail chains] of bonded child slaves as young as 10 in India’s illegal sweatshops tells a different story,’ says Bhuwan Ribhu, a Delhi lawyer and activist for the Global March Against Child Labour.

Now, of course it is very difficult (or impossible) to ensure the responsibility of where your clothes were made, and it might cost more than we are used to. But it is the little things that that save the world, the little acts of faithfulness into which Jesus is calling us.

So I ask: What would Jesus Boycott? What would he wear?

We are all, after all…
human tee

or are we?

for further reading . . .

  • None Found


6 Responses to “on saving the world…(#2)”

  1. Ryan Sharp on November 2nd, 2007 9:43 am

    So true. I think of the irony of purchasing a (RED) product that helps vaccinate African children…at the expense of Asian children. It’s stealing from the poor to give to the poor. Sad.

  2. Jerry on November 2nd, 2007 3:12 pm

    Following this logic, Gap should either move all its manufacturing in-house, but overseas, or do its manufacturing in the U.S, because outsourced manufacturing is impossible to guarantee sweatshop-free. Both of these options would cause Gap’s prices to rise, making them less competitive and, most likely, put them out of business. So let’s see, they can fold up shop, releasing 150,000 employees who depend on them for income, health care, etc. Or they can remain in business and continue to be a good influence in the garment industry with their vendor compliance policies and overall excellent corporate responsibility principles. Which would Jesus prefer?

  3. geoff holsclaw on November 2nd, 2007 6:30 pm

    I totally agree about “stealing from the poor to give to the poor.” That’s why I couldn’t get on the desi(red) bandwagon.

    two things. 1) I have little interest telling Gap what they should or shouldn’t be doing. Yes you are right that Gap should move everything in house b/c that is the only way to guarantee production quality, but you are right that would probably increase prices. But there are companies like “american apparel” which have done just that (work from america with labor earning a living wage from all natural cotton), or there is “no sweat apparel” (see the link on the side bar or the ‘human’ shirt in the post) who contract only with union labor oversees which guarantees fair labor.

    2) But this second point is the most important one. I don’t care what Gap does, I CARE WHAT I DO! What I do with my money (which is voting in Capitalism) is important to me. I don’t want to support a system that is “being a good influence” even while abusing people. That’s like saying we should tolerate a good congressman who does good for a bunch of people even though he beats his wife. NO! Therefore, I am willing to pay more for my shirts, socks, shoes to know for sure that my money is going to companies who are not merely being a “good influence” but are in a different system of values.

  4. Maria Kirby on November 9th, 2007 10:48 pm

    How about neither? How about investing in after market clothes that are not as dependent on how they were produced? I think the biggest problem with the clothing industry is the consumers demand for the latest greatest fashion. If consumers were more interested in having an efficient wardrobe as well as an effective one, then we’d all be spending a lot less on clothes. And we could afford to buy clothes that were made using ethical practices.

  5. Mike Knott on November 10th, 2007 6:04 pm

    Great work, Geoff. Great work.

  6. Mark on November 12th, 2007 4:03 am

    Read The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs. Sometimes the solution to poverty is not so black and white.

Got something to say?