Thursday, June 2, 2016

Dressed for Success

If you're looking for the excitement of travel without the travail, check your clothes' labels. I have clothing made on practically every continent and in every country (with the probable exception of the US of A; I don't think we make clothes here anymore). I have shirts and slacks from Sri Lanka and Surinam but my favorite at the moment, because I had to look it up, is Lesotho. 

I just read the Daily News (and swear by every word) and think of myself as 'up on geography' but I had ZERO clue about Lesotho. And here I am, with a sweatshirt from my daughter's university, made there. 

Turns out, it's a 'kingdom' inside the RSA (that's the Republic of South Africa for those geo-politically impaired) and seems to trace its roots back to the bad old days of the Union of South Africa, the policy of apartheid and the creation of (ethnic) homelands. Suspect there's a lot more to this tale that's too ticklish to tell, especially when a university permits its vendors to manufacture its branded outer garments there. 

Would NOT be surprised to learn most of the school's staff has no idea where Lesotho is located or that they have little knowledge and even less interest about the working conditions or the wages and benefits of the people who make their sweatshirts. Global Warming is, of course, a front lobe concern for the sincere and well-meaning--knowledge of the people and places elsewhere on the globe, not so much. 

For the tens of thousands and more who used to work in this country in the 'garment industry', don't let the factory door hit you in the butt as we close it and lock it for the last time. I remember an ad campaign that encouraged clothing shoppers to 'look for the union label.' Talk about eye-strain; you'd go blind now, trying to do that. 

It's a pity our kids don't have geography anymore in the schools. They'd learn so much from just putting away their clean clothes. Where in the world is Carmen San Diego? Try the sock drawer.
-bill kenny

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