At the dinner table last night, surrounded by various family members (I do have quite a large family), my brother pointedly asked:
“Charlie, would you be upset if I spent £100 in Primark today?”
Admittedly, he was trying, in true brotherly fashion, to get a rise out of me. My initial thoughts were “How do I respond to this question?”
- Act like it doesn’t really bother me, and shrug it off – he won’t stop shopping there anyway & some people just can’t be told.
- Go all Martyr and throw out my pre-prepared speech on the horrors of buying from the mass-manufactured hell-hole, maybe throw in a little “margins” argument.
- Throw a sisterly tantrum right back at him – a little crying that my efforts are all in vain and “no one understands me” and storm out.
I often think about this when confronted by a total “ethical fashion cynic”… the force it takes not to punch some people in the face is quite overwhelming at times… but I haven’t included that in my options in this instance.
It also got me thinking:
“How the hell can I persuade other people to behave ethically, when I can’t even persuade my own family members??”
I think they understand what it’s all about, but they simply don’t care enough to act on it, it’s too much effort! I totally get that. And that’s what it boils down to: Until there’s an option that’s as accessible, cheap and as aesthetically pleasing as the mass-manufactured alternative, then it simply won’t be a competition. At least, the few ethical advocates that do exist, that do continue to voice their opinions and educate people, may be able to start at the grassroots, upwards? Perhaps it should be about educating the designers, rather than the customers?