3.14.2012

Where are you from?



At a dinner last Friday I was introduced to one of my favourite Hong Kong food bloggers e-ting. She  has been blogging about food for almost for 8 years and she said something that struck a chord, she said I do not want to just simply critique food anymore, I want to learn the story behind the food. I want to know story of the chef, the idea, where the food comes from, learn about the local Hong Kong farmers, how the food is grown.

In the last few years we have taken quite a liking to all things organic and local. Especially in the UK most hip restaurants boast local produce, farm reared chicken, non GMO soy milk. Movies like FOOD Inc have been instrumental in changing our mentalities. Of course the healthy food obsession is a little exaggerated. Organic US apples 3x the price of HK apples flown from across the world are in that "crazy" bucket of organics. Yet, if you have ever tried freshly baked bread with fresh farm butter no pre-packed E492 laden sandwich will taste the same.

To sum it up we like good food and want to know about it. So why then do we not care about our clothes?  We wear them on our body, obsess over them on other (especially more skinny) people, drool over pairs of shoes, spend one month salaries on bags, have goosebumps watching well made couture shows, yet we have no regards in most cases towards the story of our clothes. Actually let me correct myself, we love the designer story, the lookbook, the mood board, the sources of inspiration etc, but there is zero regards for who, how, why actually makes our clothes. The real birth of a garment is a completely neglected process.

All we want to do is buy the clothes as cheap as possible (bring on the sample sales), wear it and throw it away once we are bored of it. 

Take these photos, courtesy of Sam from few weeks ago. If I consider my outfit, I am pretty much wearing my staples from this winter, worn daily, but pretty unknown. I don't really know much about them, aside from the fact that I like them. What are my clothes made of? Are the materials mostly natural? Where do they come from? Who made them? A factory in China? Was the cotton from Uzbekistan (famous for child labour)? Were buttons on my coat made out of copper mined in Chile? Should I care?

I strongly feel that I should, even if we forget the environmental costs of the manufacturing process, there are the human costs. There are actual stories attached to each, even the cheapest, piece of clothing that we wear: the story of the cotton farmers, metal workers, stories of craftsmanship and hard labour, stories of creation. 

The problem is that we have long forgotten how to really appreciate clothes.  Few things hold value. Things are just that faceless pretty pieces of cloth, made by fairy robots and thrown away because we are bored of them.

I want to change my attitude to learn the story and actually really start  to appreciate the clothes that I wear. That's what tomorrow's challenge is partly about; re-learning to appreciate clothes and people behind them.

7 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful post, in both your words and outfit. Gorgeous necklace!
    www.styleisalwaysfashionable.blogspot.com

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  2. Great post, I enjoyed reading it. I agree 100% with what you're saying. I know I really do obsess over clothes and the history of it has always been something I thought about. I'm wondering if designers and brands freely express exactly where their clothes come from. It could say made in China but my question would be where in China? China is huge and I don't want to assume everyone in those industries has the same stories! Without knowing that I would have to make so many assumptions. I'm a research fanatic so you definitely succeeded in accessing my brain cells...LOL. BTW...cute necklace, it's really cute.

    xoxo (till next time)

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  3. So excited to be taking on this challenge with you! I posted a little blurb about it on the blog today but will probably post pics weekly like Sam is doing.

    I have stacks of favourites that I've had for years & years, I'm sure. Can't wait to get creative & restyle it all!

    ~ Clare x

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  4. Great, thoughtful post. One thing I'd like to ask you is whether there are places in Hong Kong where one can donate designer clothes or swap them with others or sell them etc. You seem fortunate enough to be one of those people that's stayed the same dress size for a good period of time. I've gone through two pregnancies and my dress size has gone up and back down again and in that time, I've accumulated good quality clothes that are a pity to donate to Oxfam or throw away. There must be others, like me, who'd pay for clothes like these, better still if the money went to charity. Is there an outlet or organisation like that? I know this is not quite on point, but still in the ethical consumerism vein. Many thanks! Great necklace!

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  5. Great post! And great outfit! ;) You look perfect. And there's nothing better than well worn and much loved things.
    On the subject of clothes and ethics (and also psychology) I'd suggest you this blog here: http://emptyemptor.com/ Not only her writing is great but also everything she writes about is very zeitgeist.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words! It's not me, it's all Sam (SamisHome) being my photographer she always knows how to make me look presentable. Just visited the emptor blog - brilliant thorough musings. Thank you for the suggestion!

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  6. Thank you for the shout Tania! I'm so glad I didn't bore you with my spiel, and indeed, there's a story and a person behind everything :)

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