When news broke last week that yet another disaster had befallen a garment factory in Bangladesh, I was angered and upset, but not very surprised. It had been a matter of months since the Tazreen factory fire had claimed 112 workers' lives, and it was inevitable that tragedy would strike again before long. I sat at my laptop, scrolling through Twitter, as more details unfolded. Incidentally, I was wearing a Primark dress.
Some have suggested a consumer boycott of Bangladeshi garments at these retailers, but a boycott could be counter-productive because doing so could jeopardise the job security of the garment workers. The best course of action is to put consumer pressure on Primark. We can't shift our society's addiction to cheap fashion overnight, but we can insist that as the buyers, Primark must put pressure on their supply chain to adhere to the basic tenets of a safe working environment.
This month we celebrate World Fair Trade Day, a campaign spearheaded by People Tree, a fair trade fashion label. But are People Tree making the move to a fair trade culture more difficult by charging nearly £100 for their dresses? If you're on a low income is fair trade fashion ever possible for you?
Sustainable fashion is in many ways synonymous with virtuous self-denial. The term is certainly laced with notions of stylistic compromise making it a tough pill to swallow in place of the consumerist banquet of fast fashion. In the UK our fashion is the fastest - and arguably the most delightful - in the world.
Starting up in fashion with no investment doesn't seem like a very sane thing to do; especially in this financial climate. Last week, in fact, I was told by an industry consultant that I'd find it "very difficult" as I don't have a money-laden family or boyfriend. I liked his honesty; money would definitely help, but I think there's big change a foot in the fashion industry.
What Jeff Garner is doing with Prophetik is unique. Apart from being an artist with a clear vision, he is an entrepreneur who owns his means of production, he is a businessman who understands the values of environmental justice drive that his brand forward and these factors combined create Prophetik's unique position in the market.
The early 1990s were a golden era in postmodern black consciousness and 'X' was a symbol of empowerment emblazoned across the chests of so many young black men. However, within three or four years of such a potent resurgence of black radical thought, the 'X' tees seemed to disappear into the bottom drawer. So to see this symbol re-emerge on a suit jacket in 2011 was positively sublime.