labor rights

the moral wardrobe: falling back with Braintree Clothing

fair trade striped top

Braintree Clothing is a London based company committed to ethical manufacturing. They use natural, organic, and recycled fabrics; have a comprehensive animal welfare policy; and pay fair wages to factory employees. Additionally, they believe in maintaining long term relationships with their factories to ensure continued employment and consistent regulation.

1970s ethical outfitvintage shoes

All of that is awesome, but what attracted me to Braintree was their collection. Modern, casual, and just a bit British heritage, it's effortless, everyday wear. They provided the Jarrah Striped Tee to review on Style Wise and I love it more than I expected (and I expected to love it because it's striped!). It's made of a bamboo viscose/cotton blend with a bit of stretch and has cool buttons on the back. After I snapped these shots, I undid the bottom three buttons for more of a flyaway look with my high waist jeans. I like that the angled hem looks like a vented shirttail on a suit when the buttons are undone.

braintree clothing reviewbraintree clothing jarrah top review
Ethical Details: Jarrah Top - c/o Braintree Clothing; Earrings - c/o Bario Neal; Shoes - thrifted; Ring (not shown) - Alex & Ani

The width of the stripes and the cut made me think of casual '70s looks, so I paired it with flares and vintage, t-strap flats that remind me of clogs. The Jarrah top costs about $50.00 USD and runs true to size.

Side note: this was maybe the first time I've ever taken photos before work. With the time change, it gets dark at 5:00, but the morning light is glorious!


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this is where your Christmas stuff comes from

According to Quartz' recent article, about 60% of the world's new Christmas decorations come from the city of Yiwu in China. Reporters state that conditions are bad by western standards and that many workers are likely inhaling toxic chemicals on a daily basis. On the spectrum of possible working conditions, however, it's not so bad. 

What surprised me most about the video is that production looks more like a craft project than a factory operation. I think a lot of us assume that our goods are churned through a high tech, fully automated machine, but, in industries that rely on the cheapest manufacturing cost possible, it's not a priority to update equipment. It's much easier to employ people to do it all by hand. This is true even in U.S. factories. This is why fair labor is expensive. 

Bangladesh Garment Workers Memorial Quilt

Last night, the Virginia Arts of the Book Center sponsored a one night exhibition of the Triangle Fire and Bangladesh Garment Workers Memorial Quilts. I wasn't able to attend since I had plans to see my friend's play, but I still wanted to mention it here.

The quilts were designed by Robin Berson, a labor rights activist associated with the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition based in New York. Before the 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh that killed 1,133 people, The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911 was the deadliest factory disaster in the history of the industry. The owners of the Manhattan-based building were indicted for manslaughter, but were acquitted. The incident is responsible for improving safety standards in New York and in the country at large. The Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition was formed in the years leading up to the 100 year anniversary of the tragedy and works to promote universal worker dignity and safety. The Bangladesh Garment Workers Quilt commemorates the lives lost in the Rana Plaza collapse and the Tazreen fire.

The handmade quilts serve as a moving reminder that we are all connected by the stitches that make our garments. We are all responsible for worker safety.

For more information about the Rana Plaza disaster, read my article for Relevant.