Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Human Reason to Go Naked - Avoid Clothes Made by Exploited Labor

If you want another reason that may persuade you  to choose going naked more often here it is: According to an article running in this month's edition of The Atlantic Magazine , "Your clothes are made by exploited laborers."

The Atlantic story relays the experience of the Patagonia clothing and foods company, which made a sincere attempt to root out any exploitation of its workers.  Not just in the "sweat shops" that cut and sew fabric.  But right down to the very mills that that supply fabric and beyond.  What Patagonia found over the course of conducting multiple fair labor practice "audits" of these suppliers was troubling. The same workers already making low wages in countries like Taiwan were further exploited by being forced to pay labor brokers for the privilege of getting their jobs in the first place.  In extreme cases, the fees assessed topped more than $7,000.

The Platypus family often lists the exploitation of labor (including child labor) among the reasons we reject clothes where possible---and, especially, swimwear. It's made by people earning pennies per hour and the Atlantic article helps demonstrate that we're being neither theoretical nor hyperbolic about that. Our question: How "moral" can it be to insist on wearing small bands of fabric in order to be "properly attired" at the beach, while at the same time turning one's head to the human consequences associated with producing that fabric?

For the record, the members of the Platypus family now purchase virtually all of our clothing at second-hand shops and, especially, from the Salvation Army. Within these outlets there's usually a great selection of high quality items in good condition, sold for very little money.  Saving that money helps free up dollars to give more... to churches, ministries, people in need, or other matters important to our family.  It also recycles - giving clothing a second, useful life, while employing the Salvation Army workers in the store who launder it and prepare it for sale.  Ms. Platypus is also talented at turning yarn into blankets and spreads, as well as jackets and scarves for when it gets cold.

Now, before we morph into self-righteous Preachy Platypuses, we'll acknowledge that someone must still produce the original clothes that eventually reach the second-hand racks.  But we won't fill then dump out our closets with pop fashions that we don't need.

Please. Believe us. Often naked really is better. Nudity is also often the more humanitarian choice.