Connecting with Culture
It’s been said that culture is ‘what we make of the world’, but what does that look like as Christians? How can we begin conversations about what’s goin...
‘I don’t do fashion. I am fashion.’ Coco Chanel
Whilst few of us will engage with fashion in the Chanel sense of the word, it affects us all. And a couple of years ago, I watched a documentary that changed my view of the clothes I buy forever.
The True Cost reveals the shocking truth of clothes manufacturing. It’s where I discovered that garment workers are some of the lowest paid individuals globally. They face harsh working conditions and negligible protection laws, and children working under their mother’s sewing stations is the norm. Needless to say, the 90-minute film had a profound impact on me.
But doesn’t Jesus tell us not to ‘worry about your life, or about your body, what you will wear’? (Luke 12:22)
Yes, Jesus tells us not to be unhelpfully preoccupied with money or the possessions we might accumulate. However, when it comes to the hands that make our clothes, they are precious in his sight.
Psalm 82:3 tells us to ‘uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed’. According to the Bangladeshi government’s wage board, garment workers earn less than a third of what they require to buy basic necessities each month. And, as Christians, we have a part to play in upholding their cause.
When we make conscious choices about the brands we do (or don’t) buy from, we can be a mouthpiece for truth and justice. When we refuse to give our pennies to the brands that neglect their employees, we defend the cause of the oppressed.
So next time you spot that t-shirt on the high street for a fiver, perhaps ask yourself, ‘Who pays the price for this item?’.
Of course, we won’t get it right every time. Changing buying habits will look slightly different for everyone, and having grace for others and for ourselves is key.
But, as we consider where our clothes come from, what opportunities might there be to engage with those in our workplaces, friendship groups, and communities? Rather than always buying new, how about holding a clothes swap with colleagues or neighbours? Or browsing through local charity shops and supporting a good cause at the same time?
Whilst it’s unlikely we can directly improve the working conditions of garment workers, we can pray for better practices in the fashion industry and consider the most loving way to steward our buying power.
Supporter Communications Manager, LICC
PS. New territory for you? Good on You is a great starting place for understanding how well brands are doing at this stuff.