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Postcards from Scotland

Viewers' ideas on what needs to be done

These are the responses we got on postcards during our discussion session:

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‘Inspired to start a movement to change.  Creation of a new paradigm in fashion, creating communities of designers/artisans and customers working ethically together. ‘

‘It makes me feel inspired to continue my campaign to encourage the take-up of Fairtrade Cotton – in particular Fairtrade cotton schoolwear and to get more people to view my online exhibition “Cotton Unfolded” on the Scottish Fairtrade Forum website’

‘Need to work with War on Want, Amnesty, The Transitional Institute etc. to keep these issues central to political discourse’

‘All future fashion textile students should have access to seeing this film’

‘Info on companies practices to inform buying decisions.  Resist own compulsion to buy unneeded stuff.  Political pressure for laws (in consuming countries) to protect workers + environment (in producing countries)- restrictions on rampant free trade.  Destroy capitalism!!!’

‘Who are Fairtrade ethical producers – People Tree, Patagonia, Who else?  Our responsibility for what we buy.  School procurement – Sainsbury’s? Asda? Help for parents.  Promulgate “Need little, want less”.  Make a resource base for all Fairtrade/ethical website.  Send to all here tonight plus where to get film online.’

Fairtrade campaign’

‘People need to stop turning a blind eye and come together to tackle these issues one step at a time.  People need to be educated on these problems from a younger age via schools etc’

‘We need to educate!  Get this movie into schools, onto television, into unions.  We need to lobby – our government and the industry in general.  We can start by naming + shaming of the companies but also of the individuals behind them + the institutions that invest in them.  We have to start with changing our own personal habits – if we are going to shop, let’s at least buy well – only buy fairtrade’

‘Equal pay.  Treat everybody as equals’

‘Actions – step outside the high street.  Shop with ethical independents.  Be mindful, dispose of clothing/repurpose/re-use in a more thoughtful way.  Think about the life cycle of the garment before you buy.  www.ethical.market for example’

‘Communication of the issues (damage).  Pride from industry about production methods (fair trade etc.).  Guardian etc + other intelligent media platforms need to make this the norm – like free range eggs.  Govt regulation through political lobbying/internet  Working with young people on issues around consumerism + ethical production’

‘Localism, aswell as globalism…spread industry worldwide? Watch how horrified NIMBYS watch a commercial tannery go up in their town…Global implementation of human rights…the right to a living wage, to from unions.  Something so globally catastrophic that the system is entirely disrupted.  Nuclear war?  Poverty breeds poverty.  If 1st world citizens are kept so poor that a £2 Tshirt is the best option…then developing world will be paid shite too.’

‘We as consumers need to buy less.  We need to change the mentality of cheap as best’

‘A change in how trade is done.  More awareness of the issues.  Change in how we live our lives’

‘Policy needs to change-we need to change the business is (sic) allowed to operate.  Educate, educate’

‘THINK BEFORE WE BUY. We need to change the way we buy.  Consider other human beings.  Care more for our fellow human beings and environment’

We/I should buy fewer clothes.  Choose only Fair Trade cotton/wool.  Keep awareness of what is happening in clothing industry.  Try and increase general knowledge of the issues shown in the film.’

‘Heighten awareness.  Regulation.  Change. Co-operation’

‘Education – but not just through schools.  Everyone has a responsibility to educate’

‘Greater mobilisation re fair trade clothes as in food’

‘Economic system change.  Educate the punters.  Ban adverts’

‘Watch this film!  Change individual behaviour’

‘Global campaign for workers’ rights …not just fashion industry – e.g. electronics, Apple factories in China etc.’

Systemic problems –It’s there in all aspects of our life - Needs a systemic response.  Labour rights!  Cooperative, community ownership.’

‘Pressure on clothing firms to put in place all that’s needed for fair working conditions.  Environmental costs into public debate + awareness.  Customer choice – we have more power than we think.’

‘Changing economies, the system needs to change.  Individual solutions are not on a big enough scale.  It is where we can start though.  I will buy organic cotton only.  Did not think it was that important.’

‘We need to take responsibility and decide if we feel good with our self each time we purchase Fast Fashion, we are stupidly encouraging it.  Take responsibility of what we are fuelling.  We need to trust our government to punish those who operate in the UK, boycott etc.’

‘Buy better quality, fewer clothes, reuse/make your own?  Population issue not addressed – if there weren’t so many of us we wouldn’t be spoiling the planet – no?  All of these tied to women’s rights and education worldwide!’

‘Not a great consumer myself but ask the question of myself every time I buy something’

‘I think there needs to be more promotion & education of the consequences of the fashion industry.  I need to learn more about where to shop that produces clothes in a responsible way’
‘More conscious conscientious capitalism.  Calling the capitalist system to account’

‘Determination to spread the word.  Increase: Awareness of the issue + film; Consciousness of consumers; Value of clothing’

‘We need to try to expose their atrocities somehow’

‘Campaign, educate, international politics, build trade unions & collaboration, buy clothes carefully’

‘I will change my behaviour as necessary.  We all must bring the info in the film to as many people as possible especially the young’

‘Publicise shops which use these factories – 3 or 4 mentioned in film, but what about others?  Horrified by US chemicals in agriculture.  Engage advertising industry to help.  Make it more obvious in shops which clothes are ethical’

‘Regulation and accountability – link conditions in factories in the East directly with those making the profit.  Work towards global regulation linked to ecological/environmental regulation.’

‘The business model needs to change.  Learn to love slow fashion.  Learn to wait for what you buy and respect what you wear.  Buy clothes with a conscience.’

‘We should be more critical about things we buy.  More ethical choices.  Challenge companies to change their policies.  Demand ethical products from big companies.  We definitely should think more before buying.  Educate people about it, remind them about it all the time.  Teach people about where their clothes (products) come from.  Teach them to respect it.’

‘Externalised costs (ecological, social, health) need to be paid in full by companies: “clothes tax”’

‘Important that consumers are educated.  Political lobbying & taking responsibility.  Educating our children.  Raising awareness.  It strikes me that all of us in the room are ‘aware’ & want to know more but we are in minority?!’

‘Future Learn (Open University backed site) have free courses online – currently running a course ‘building a sustainable fashion business’ of interest to those with an interest in the industry futurelearn.org’

‘Taking ownership + responsibility, as well as realising the seriousness of our situation.  Not just being more educated, but owning up to the damage we have caused’

‘Own actions (though don’t buy much).  Influence others, word of mouth.  Schools.  Speak to your people.  Buy Fair Trade’

‘Need – Education – how to teach the young to resist the power of “fashion”’

‘Stop buying cheap clothes + tell my friends about this film’

‘Clothes should earn the right to be labelled organic + fairtrade – just like food.  I will now ask the shops I go into where the clothes are made and the conditions etc – and I will keep asking – if they can’t tell me and I will press them to find out where I can get the info.  I will tell people about the film and encourage to watch online – including people who work in shops.  More ethical traders if they exist need to show they are supporting these communities – blow their own trumpet’

‘Recognition of the power a consumer has, responsibility inherent in that power and motivation to act with integrity.  Diligence to push forward, not as part of a “small counter cultural movement” but as a punch for reform.  Leveraging political power as citizens’

‘Political change in Cambodia, Bangladesh etc. – HOW!!?.  Push companies to change their sourcing to sustainable, with human rights, workers rights – in other countries by using our consumers rights, pressure groups etc.  Fashion industry should be made more aware through education/campaigns.  So that they are under pressure to become ‘fairtrade’ and ‘sustainable’ to be fashionable.  Women’s rights campaigns for education & health services, access to contraception worldwide, childcare etc’

‘We need to reduce our hypocrisy – we often claim to want democratic change, culture change, values change…but how many individuals are active in the political machine and are active in shifting the values/culture/attitudes of political parties to tackle inequalities across the spectrum of human actions.’

‘How do we find out if individual companies work ethically.  Any websites?’

‘Education.  Communication + sharing of this film to increase awareness of the issues’

‘We as consumers need to mobilise to make the manufacturers responsible for their actions.  As Stella McCartney said, the fashion industry can’t exist without its customers’

‘Need a political movement to change the political and economic system away from shareholder capitalism to a cooperative model.  Need a government that takes their global responsibilities more seriously’

‘Personal: research and find ethical clothes.   Change my buying habits.  Community/network – talk to people about it.  Political/systemic as an individual connect with campaigns  This is part of the whole issue of inequitable world – I am part of that.  So there’s a whole load of things that need to change and movements for change do exist’

‘Personal level – challenge retailers.  Stop buying so much.  Political level – challenge politicians.  Challenge businesses.  Identify & EXPOSE the people who own Zara, H&M etc!’

'Many people, including the young, do not know of the full extent of damage to people’s lives and to the environment of the ‘fast fashion’ industry. As someone said the film could do with being shorter so that it can be shown in schools and on university campuses. I think that young people are very idealistic and would respond to a call to do something about this issue. Has the film been shown in schools and on campuses in Scotland and the rest of the UK? I wonder whether it could have the effect of the Boycott sanctions in South Africa in the later decades of the 20th century. Is there a way to get this movement started????'

'A friend commented to me in conversation about the film that there are poor children and adults who find that buying cheap clothes is the only way they can keep up with the ‘what you are is what you wear’ message of advertising. How can they be helped without damaging their own self- esteem and ways of thinking?'

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