Notes: My Clothes, Your Clothes

Are you wearing fast fashion products either it is from Zara, Pull & Bear, H&M, Bershka and any other? How often do you buy a new outfit? And….have you ever wondered who makes your clothes, under what condition, how do they make it or where do they make it? Well, let me tell you a story.

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Yesterday, my friends and I went to an interesting yet eye-opening trip. We visited one  ready made garment factories in Bangladesh. This trip gave us the opportunity to see how our clothes are manufactured from the scratch. Located 35 kilometer from Dhaka, the factory is owned and run by Beximco Group, a Bangladeshi multinational company. The company manufactures products for a wide range of clients ranging from Zara, Pull&Bear, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger to DKNY. According to its official website, currently the company’s Textile & Apparel Division employs more than 5,150 people.

Bangladesh is known as the second largest ready made garment producer after China. The industry has become one of the largest export earning contribution to the country. According to Dhaka based newspaper The Daily Star, the industry has generated export earning up to USD 28.67 billion as of December 2016. The industry hopes to increase to USD 50 billion by 2021.

SONY DSCThe Bangladesh textile and garment industry employs approximately 4 million people. Most of the workers are women. Every month, they earn approximately 7,000 to 10,000 BDT, this figure is actually slightly higher than its minimum wage which is at 5,300 BDT. According to various local media report, the worker union is demanding that the minimum wage should be increased to 16,000 BDT.

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Some of you might remember the 2013 Rana Plaza incident which caused more than 1,100 killed and 2,500 injured; this incident is known as the deadliest industrial disaster ever. Since the incident, the Bangladesh’s textile and apparel industry claims that they have been making effort to improve the factory condition that meet the safety standard. Yet, as we walked around the factory and learnt about its production process, I noticed that many textile and apparel workers are exposed to high level of noise from the machines as well as chemical hazards without any protection which you can see from my pictures. This condition is feared to have a significant impact to the worker’s health. Not forget to mention that many of them spend hours to standing or sitting while doing their work. This made me wonder how much the 2013 Rana Plaza incident has really brought changes to the textile and garment’s industry in Bangladesh.

I must say that this trip has reflected upon me that despite the fact that Bangladesh has become a centre of ready-made garment manufacturing for many global fashion brands, the country is still severely underdeveloped. Additionally, workers tend to have terrible conditions while others get massive profits. Yet, without this sector millions would be unemployed.

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Notes: A Conscious Consumer 

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Those make me horny! [2013: Oktofani]

I don’t know exactly how many clothes I have been purchasing in these last ten years. It must be hundreds or could have been thousands. And where are those clothes now? Most of them have been donated, given out or thrown away. Why? Those were either already washed out, destroyed or simply out of trend. Well you know…I was one of those consumers who “see now, buys now” but I have been trying to change to be a conscious consumer in the past few years now. Why? Here is my story
Back in 2011, I had an interesting conversation with the domestic assistant who worked in my apartment in Jakarta. She told me that she used to work in a garment factory. She also mentioned about her workload, about her salary as well as a heartbreaking incident story where she was pregnant but unfortunately she had a miscarriage when she worked over-time in the factory. She lost her baby. I am not sure whether it was work-related or not. Since then, she decided to leave her job in the garment factory and worked as a domestic assistant in South Jakarta.

A few months later, I went to Canada for Christmas. I went for Christmas shopping in several shops including GAP, Zara and Timberland. As I was checking on the price tag, I found out that those products are made in Indonesia and the price was high. I must say that I was slightly shocked. Why? It was because I remembered my conversation with the domestic assistant of mine. “Wow! This is crazy! Why would I purchase this while the labour is not getting paid fairly,” So I walked away and entered other shops? Again, I found many apparels is made in Indonesia. I then decided to look on the Internet.

As I looked on the internet, apparently many garment and footwear products which are distributed and sold in North America are made in Indonesia or China. Although it got me proud to see those products are made in Indonesia, it somehow got me upset because many labours who made these products only earning peanuts. I understand that other costs are also added but still, it got me sad. I decided to not purchase any that time.

Those events actually change the way I consume garment products.
Do I stop buying clothes? Not yet!
So how? I start to buy less and less.
Why? It is because I don’t need it. If I feel that I want or need new clothes, I tend to have it made. At least, I know who makes my clothes and pay accordingly. Alternatively, I will get clothes from local designers who are transparent about its supply chain. Or sometimes, I purchase pre-loved collection which is still pristine. Otherwise, I only purchase new clothes in a couple of occasion in one year. Not just that, I am also pretty picky about the brand. I tend to look for information regarding how ethical the company is. Although I must admit that we cannot really trust those report 100%. Most importantly, I refuse to pay at full price. Why? If a brand can sell their products with 70% discount, it means that a brand still makes a profit from that price and I don’t want to get ripped off 🙂. Hence, it is very important for me to keep myself fit so I don’t have to purchase new clothes simply because it does not fit me any longer.

Other than that, these days, if I go out purchasing clothes, it must be for my seven months old baby boy. Yet, I don’t purchase it simply because it looks cute so I want to buy many but simply as we need it. For me, this is my way to train myself to be a conscious customer. It is not only good for the environment but also for my saving. As you can imagine, how much money I have been spending on clothes which are eventually not being worn and forgotten or thrown away.

In the end, I believe that the way the consumers consume garment products can eventually force the company to be more ethical in producing their products where it should be good for the society as well as the environment.

Ride the bus

Review: Where To Shop in Ubud?

Whenever I go to Ubud, there are two boutiques that I always check out whether they have new collections or not. Those are Gingersnap and We’Ar, which are located in Jalan Hanoman Ubud. I would say that Gingersnap and We’Ar are the best boutique in town because they have unique design with a good quality material with a reasonable price. Gingersnap and We’Ar have collection for women and men

Gingersnap

Let’s shop in Ginger Snap [2012: Oktofani]

Gingersnap opened their store in Jalan Hanoman, Ubud in 2010. Since then, I have purchased some of their collections from a white short, green Turkish pant, a blue polka dot dress, a white turtle neck top and also a grey long Turkish pant with a belt.

I would say that Gingersnap style are very simple yet unique. On the top of that, they have a good material. I do not mind to spend Rp 650,000 (70 USD) for Turkish pants or Rp  350,000 (38 USD) for white tank top because of  the quality.

Ginger Snap Shop in Jalan Hanoman, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia [2012: Oktofani]

If you want to see what kind of collection Gingersnap has for you, you can check their blog at http://gingersnaplifestyle.blogspot.com/. However, I must say that Gingersnap does not have a well-managed website where you can see the preview. Yet, I can assure you that Gingersnaps has a wide range of good quality collections with reasonable price. Believe me, you will not regret every cent that you spend in their shop .

Gingersnap has two shops which are located in Jalan Raya Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali and Jalan Hanoman, Ubud, Bali.

We’Ar

We’Ar It [2012: Oktofani]

I am not a yoga freak, I do not even do any yoga but I love We’Ar collections are yoga wear clothing. We’Ar design are very simple and very colorful.  Their collection is suitable to be worn as a casual outfit. We’Ar make their collection with an organic material which required a good quality maintenance if you want to keep your collection in a good condition. You can just check their collection in their website www.wear.itTheir website is very organized!

If you visit Bali, you can go to We’Ar stores, which are locate in Jalan Hanoman, Ubud, Bali and also Jalan Kayu Aya, Seminyak, Bali. But if you are not visiting Bali and want to get We’Ar collections, you can just go to their online store in their website.

Again… I assure you that We’Ar has a good collection of yoga wear with a reasonable price for a good quality stuff.

We’Ar It Store in Jalan Hanoman, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia [2012: Oktofani]

So, if you plan to come to Ubud, Bali. Don’t forget to visit those two boutique because they have good quality stuff with a good quality material. I can tell you that you will not waste your money for nothing in those couple of shops. It is because as I have lived in Ubud since  2009 and went back and forth between Yogya, Ubud and Jakarta there are so many shops in Jalan Monkey Forest and Jalan Raya Ubud that sells many crap with a bad quality stuff but with a very expensive price.

As a woman, who loves shopping, I don’t regret what I get in those two shop. I am writing this review is not for advertising their shop because I do not get paid from them. I am writing this review because I am just too in love with their collections.

Make sure that you pay the right price for the right quality of stuff! Bali has so many shops that sell good quality stuff with a reasonable price but Bali also has SO MANY SHOPS THAT SELL JUNK with unreasonable tourist price! So be a smart shopper if you are traveling to Bali! Happy shopping!

Blue polkadot dress by Ginger Snap [2013: Jolsvi]

Blue polkadot dress by Ginger Snap [2013: Jolsvi]

Brown leather bag by Ginger Snap [2013: Nataya]

Brown leather bag by Ginger Snap [2013: Nataya]

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Green Turkish Pants by Ginger Snap [2011: E R]

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