There is a jumbled mess of thoughts running through my head right now because I cannot narrow down my one main idea for this post. There are several things tying together, such as our consumerism society, bombarding marketing schemes, and back to the topic of the fast fashion industry and how we support it.
Thought #1: Recently I posted about fast fashion after having watched True Cost, a documentary about the behind the scenes of this industry and how it affects the garment workers and the environment. It is not news that H&M has often been called out on their standard-less factories and how they undervalue the very people that make their clothes and help them make billions of dollars each year. Well, recently I came upon a great post by Global Hobo which made me aware of an ad that H&M had run for an autumn collection. This post also made me aware of clever, clever marketing.
Apparently this ad was welcomed by individuals, some calling it a “masterpiece” and how wonderful H&M spoke up for women of all shapes, colours, and sizes. I watched the ad and thought it was a bunch of crap. Though I liked the spotlight on women being women and loving themselves, which is an important message, I hated it all at the same time because I knew the bottom line: H&M wants you to buy their clothes. It’s not about empowering women, it’s about making money and they cleverly thought of a plan with a team of smarties to sell more clothes.
Also, let’s realize here why the ad is such huge crap. Most garment workers are women. They are not fairly paid. They are forced to work in horrendous conditions. They have to work long hours but do not get any extra compensation. There is no maternity leave. Often women get fired when they become pregnant. There are no unions. There are no standards. There are no laws in place to uphold standards. So. Sure. Empower women. But only if they have the money to move in this materialistic economy?
Thought #2: Our economy runs on materialism and we support it by buying into it. Clever marketing is everywhere all the time: billboards, newspapers, TV, magazines, when you log out of your e-mail account, Facebook, any other social media, blog sites, websites, radio… it is literally everywhere all the time.
Another ad that made me react was highlighted on the True Cost documentary. Picture this: a black and white picture features a blonde, frizzy haired, upset woman in the center of the screen. She looks unhappy; she frowns, her eyebrows are pulled in, she blows her hair up from her face in a look of exasperation. The woman is alone.
In comes a bright green bottle of Garnier Fructis shampoo to the middle of the screen. The screen splits itself; one half is the black and white image, and the other is a brightly coloured, sunlit backyard. The woman appears to jump through the shampoo bottle to the other side. Her hair turns a silky golden colour, bouncing on her shoulders as she begins to laugh and smile. She is surrounded by friends, and a man lovingly approaches her. Everyone is happy on the green grass under the bright sun, having a backyard party with lots of good feels. Because of shampoo.
The message? You will be unhappy and alone if you do not have nice hair? If you buy our shampoo you will have lots of friends and you will be beautiful? Our shampoo will make you feel happy and worthy? What do you think?
It’s just all so twisted. We are evaluated by the stuff we have and how much of it we have. It always has to be more. It always has to be bigger, and better, and more. Why does stuff define who we are? Why are we letting it? Why is that the thing that we are raised with? Gifts and stuff. I am not saying I do not have stuff. Sure, I have lots of stuff. But in the last two years I have really revamped my thoughts on stuff and what it really means to me. And what it means for the world. Are we really as rich as corporations make us think we are?
Richness is not found in the things we own. Richness is family, love, nature, and friendship. Richness is happiness in the form of positive connections and relationships. Isn’t it? Or shouldn’t it be?