What do you know about the piece of clothing you’re wearing right now? What do you want to know? Be careful what you wish for.
Earlier this week two major high-street companies released a press statement saying that the use of Angora fur will no longer be a part of their future collections. Swedish fashion vanguards, H&M and Gina Tricot have both made it clear that animal cruelty does not belong in the fashion industry.
Though this is a great initiative, there’s several appalling incidents in the industry we are neglecting due to lack of information and press coverage. Leaving the consumer in complete oblivion. Angora is a natural fiber; it’s a living animal with fur that is used in knit wear all over the world. The sudden buzz caused by none other than PETA, showing the viewer the awful ripping and tugging of the rabbits who are being held down by clips to prevent their heavy kicking to disrupt the process of removing the fur. A viral video with dreadful content, especially including animals has a unique way of casting a radical blanket upon us. It’s a good thing that the industry is taking a stand towards cruelty, but excluding fibers that most women have in their wardrobe? We’ve seen it before; it won’t be long until people forget and start wearing fuzzy pieces with Angora fur. The numbers will just be smaller.
I love the industry. I think it’s a beautiful place where dreams are made and confidence is built, but in the mist of dreams and crazy skirts; there lies deep secrets few of us really understand.
Cashmere is another fiber that suffers dark secrets. The useless parts of the animal such as the tail and the horns is a no-brainer to the factories who have no boundaries, it get’s sawed off basically. Industry specialists claims that somewhere between 50-80% of all cashmere sheep gets terminated by the age of two, if born with a deficiency; the sheep simply has no value, claims PETA report.
Cotton field in Uzbekistan. Source: HMW.ORG
Do you know who Amirbek Rakhmatov is? I’m guessing, no. He was a 6-year-old boy working in the Uzbekistan cotton fields. While he should be playing with friends and doing the right type of work in school, he died of suffocation from all the cotton fibers he inhaled while taking a break from work, just a couple of months ago. Child labor is not only cruel; it’s unfortunately prevalent in the fashion industry.
Proud fur owners often say: -“ well if you hate fur? Why do you have leather shoes?” And the statement follows with: – “ it’s a multi-purpose animal so it’s different.” Well do you want to guess? – The leather industry is just as atrocious as cashmere, cotton and the Angora industry. Earlier this year, PETA discovered shocking news from leather factories in India. Yes, the country where the cow is considered holy. Starving cows get their tails chopped off and eyes filled with tobacco and chilli spices so they won’t collapse on the way to the butcher. The leather process can be a bit similar to taking off a shirt or a pair of socks; the only difference is there’s no pain in that.
A child sandblasting a pair of jeans in Turkey. Source: NYTIMES.COM
Finally. One of the worst, which actually causes death, long-term pain and has taken countless lives, the denim industry. Turkey is known for their denim factories. It’s not the chemicals in the indigo color that’s causing danger. It’s the sandblasting that’s causing the deadly disease called silicosis, a fatal lung decease. A change was made when Turkey noticed a drastic increase of deaths within the denim factories. Sandblasting has been illegal in Turkey since 2009, but this doesn’t apply to the rest of the denim industry. Many questions are left unanswered. Sandblasting is just one of many factors causing silicosis.
These are my connotations. I am in no way casting a ghastly shade on the industry, but if a video can cause international dismissal of a common fiber? Shouldn’t we be seeing the whole picture, knowing all the stories? It’s social radicalism. Would you stop wearing your wedding ring if you knew a young boy worked months for it in Senegal?
Where do we cross the line?
The truth behind Angora fur
Stella McCartney talks about the leather industry
Sources: UNICEF, PETA, HUFFINGTON POST, HRW.ORG, NYTIMES.COM