It’s a start

LogoI was thinking about a topic for this week’s fashion post when I came across a news article that fit very well with what I said last week about boycotting products that are made in China.

The Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) recently intercepted a shipment of women’s and children’s clothing that originated in China on the grounds that the garments were made by forced labour. This was the first interception of its kind since new federal laws came into place in July 2020 officially banning the import of goods made partially or wholly by forced labour. Just as there is no way for us as consumers to know what conditions our purchases were made under, there is no visual indicator to show a border services officer the labour standards by which a particular good was produced. This makes this a very difficult situation to deal with, but the CBSA says that it will continue to investigate complaints and allegations pertaining to imports made using forced labour. Hopefully this will lead to further interceptions of this kind and will ultimately result in retailers ensuring that they don’t order goods that have been produced unethically. At least it’s a start. 

So what exactly is forced labour? According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), forced or compulsory labour is “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily.” It refers to a form of modern slavery in which people are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by more subtle means such as manipulated debt, retention of identity papers, or threats of being handed over to immigration authorities. In China, Uyghurs and other Turkic minority ethnic groups are being subjected to forced labour in Xinjiang province. As well, a recent CBC Marketplace investigation found that several Canadian retailers, including one of my favourites, had brought hundreds of shipments of clothing into Canada from a Chinese factory suspected of secretly using North Korean forced labour. The factory is located in the city of Dandong, just across the Yalu River from North Korea.

The more I learn about unethical clothing production in China, the more convinced I am not to support it with my fashion dollars! I know I’m only one and I’m not even a big spender when it comes to clothing, but if I can convince even one of you to consider not purchasing clothes that are made in China, it’s a start. 


And now, are you wondering how the six items or less challenge is going? At the end of the second week, I must admit that wearing the same things over and over again is a bit boring, but there are also advantages. Getting dressed in the morning is easy and so was packing for a weekend away to meet our brand new baby granddaughter! I simply wore two items and packed the other four along with some socks, underwear, and pjs. Easy peasy! No thought involved.