It's been a year since the Rana Plaza collapse in Dhaka Bangladesh. 1,134people died (Guardian) when a clothing factory collapsed. The blame for this collapse lies with the relentless drive for cheap clothing and rapid fulfilment times demanded by "fast fashion" and our desire for it.
It is simplistic to look for the protagonists to blame this human tragedy on. Cartoon parodies of an evil factory owner whipping his staff like a pantomime villain, or greedy corporate executive - the 1% - looking no further than his stock options and the opportunity to buy a larger super-yacht to peacock around Sardinia in. Simplistic and wrong.
The problem with evil of course, as any A-Level philosopher will tell you, is not that there are good people and bad people, but that there is good and bad in all of us. It really is only in pantomimes that we can find the evil villain to be caught.
Sadly Rana Plaza is no pantomime. To prevent Rana Plaza then is not a case of stopping a few evil people, but for all of us to act better, and there's the rub. "Acting better" is *hard*:
Firstly it's complex. How should you shop for clothes to do the decent thing? How much should a a garment cost to provide a fair wage to all involved? Even if you pay more, how do you know the money is going where you want it to? The answer to these questions will probably surprise you!
Secondly it involves sacrifice. Probably. To pay a little more for a garment means a little less money to spend on something else.
Thirdly it involves action. Figuring it all out and doing nothing is just bar-room philosophy.
It all adds up to an unpopular message for many, but for those seeking an answer to that most ancient of questions "how to live a good life?" then hopefully it's a message that you will embrace and I encourage you to do so. After all life's not a dress rehearsal.
Arthur & Henry are on the Advisory Committee for Fashion Revolution Day. Will be blogging more about it in the coming weeks.
Grama Encre Orange Fluro trainers from Veja. €99. Organic cotton. Wild rubber. Veg tanned leather. Made in Brazil.
Wear with: navy linen shirt, orange linen shirt
Carry: recycled fire-hose card holder
Iver Vee Neck from ESK. Cashmere. £445. Made in Scotland.
Arthur & Henry organic cotton white shirt or blue & white striped shirt
Do you tweet? Are you a tweeter? Or is it twitterer?
Love it or hate it (and we love it) Twitter can be a great way to hear news and make connections. And then there's Follow Friday where you can recommend other tweeters to your followers. (OK, we admit it is now sounding a bit like a cult.)
So for you this Friday is a trinity of the fab folk we follow. Check out their websites and, if you tweet, follow them:
British Style @StyleBritish
- a Tumblr of great British style
Ashoka UK @ashokaUK
- UK arm of the worldwide network of leading social entrepreneurs
Art of Manliness @artofmanliness
- Helping men man up.
Organic jeans from Hiut Denim, £130, Made in Cardigan
Wear them with: Dark pink fine stripe shirt with floral trim. Organic cotton.
Elvis & Kresse belt made from recycled fire hose
It's Fairtrade Fortnight so we've partnered with our friends at Pants to Poverty, purveyors of might fine underthings, to give away a Year of Pants to one lucky chap. That's a new pair of pants every month*.
Made from Fairtrade cotton from Indian smallholder farmers these pants are fair from cotton to bottom.
Click here for your chance to get them.
* 12 pairs of men's pants in total worth £170. Delivered quarterly. You choose: briefs or boxers (trunks). Pants pictured are illustrative, actual pants may vary.
Ink Tweed Waistcoat from Cock & Bull Menswear. £140. Made in England
Wear it with Arthur & Henry organic classic blue and white stripe shirt.
40 years ago today our mother had a rather special Valentine's gift.
Happy Birthday Mark.
We're exhibiting at the Ethical Fashion Forum's SOURCE Brand Preview this week.
Harnessing the power of technology this is an online event. So come see our shirts from the comfort of your desk. Menswear brands are showcased 4-5pm on Wednesday 5th February. Register here.
Kung Hey Fat Choi.
In China, red is a lucky colour. Get a little of that Chinese luck in your life.
Made from decommissioned fire-hose by Elvis & Kresse.
iPhone case £32.50