Sunday, January 31, 2010

Knockoff Shmockoff


When I studied abroad in London, my mom offered to let me borrow her giant Louis Vuitton duffle bag for me to use as luggage. Of course I was stoked--bringing a huge LV bag to London could only boost the look of my outfits with its overly exposed monograms and handles that give your hands blisters after just walking a few blocks. So I used the bag painfully, yet proudly, the entire quarter: freakishly worried that something would scratch the leather or that something would spill on the bag, looking totally crazy when riding the overcrowded tube, protecting the bag from all the tube riders looking to maliciously pull and drag at my overpriced bag. Little did I know that my mom's beautiful LV bag was really a fake. When my mom came to visit me at the end of the program, she said to me "Are you crazy?! Like I'd give you real Louis Vuitton [major laughing and scoffing]!" My heart kind of sank as I realized I pointlessly carried around that totally useless bag for three whole months thinking it was real when in reality it just made traveling around Europe more difficult.

Here's the thing though--the bag looked so real. I noticed it didn't FEEL like leather (but what do I know?), but the monograms and everything looked pretty authentic. And the entire time I never doubted that I wasn't carrying a real LV bag, and I acted as if I had the real thing (probably snobbish and overly protective of scratching the pleather of the damned bag). So that's when I realized, why buy the fake or real thing when you're just looking to attain some form of beauty, status, or decadence? It's a bullshit, temporary feeling of happiness (or just a straight up superiority complex). So at the end of this experience, I realized--knockoffs are full of crap. And while a majority of my songs on iTunes were not downloaded legally, at least I will never buy garments or accessories with the "blind desire to look immaculately fashionable"--at least knockoff-wise. And we could all learn from a reverse authentic bag experiment like my unintended one.

I think Decker's article has a point though and my biggest question is to what point is appropriation not plagiarizing or stealing? All the fashions we see in stores selling ready-to-wear like Forever 21 are selling clothes based off of higher end designs or what is put on the runway.

Anyways, update on the Consumerism Challenge: I haven't bought anything besides a ton of food and drinks at Safeway lately, and the only excess I've had these days is trips to the bars. I've even been avoiding online shopping. Yay me.

Amethyst Wang
Post #5
Sources:
"Knockouts of Knockoffs", Decker

My Sweet Nike.. you bastards. Week 4


Retail corporations generally bring in large amounts of profit. Nike, Levi, and toy distributors especially fair extremely well in today's American consumer culture. Always marketing to a younger demographic, these companies, as well as others, are able to sometimes charge ridiculous prices for items such as sneakers, jeans, and games. Usually produced cheaply, clothing and apparel industry can maximize profits. However, it is seldom stressed, the horrible conditions under which laborers work. Workers in sweatshops usually are underpaid and overworked. Children as young as 6 enter dangerous work place under terrible conditions. Nike, as of late, has come extreme scrutiny for their production practices. Their factories in Indonesia are known to be horrible work places. Holstein et. al contends that although sweat shops are exploitative and dangerous, they do have some benefits. For instance, Nike at one point has most of its sneakers manufactured in South Korea. South Korea then evolved into "an industrial powerhouse with a higher living standard". (Holestein et. al) However, in the end, cheaper products should not be worth the immense turmoil it causes for other human beings.
Counterfeiting has also become a lucrative industry. What I found most interesting was that the quality of knock off brands has increased. In some cases, workers at retail stores can not even tell the difference between the knock off and authentic versions. One retail chain actually accidentally purchased several counterfeit hand bags. Decker contends that although the counterfeit industry might appear to be innocent and in a sense, an industry for the people, it does have several negative implications. One of them being a source of Italian mafia crime. It has been shown that the Italian mafia has had their hand in the counterfeiting industry. This industry in turn generates income for the Mafia's other business enterprises.
Holestein et. al's article about sweatshops really hit close to home. I actually grew up in El Monte. Throughout my childhood, I always heard rumors of there being sweatshops in town. I never paid attention to it until high school when one of my friends actually spilled to us that her parents work at one of these places. It has now become pretty apparent. I know where some of these places actually are!
The compact challenge has become increasingly easier. I no longer spend my time idly looking at new shoes or clothes. Instead, I choose to read up on today's news and search for other outlets of occupying my time. However, I almost had a relapse. I ventured to the outlets and of course, had to make a stop at Nike. I definitely found a deal (or two, or three, or four). About to purchase them I realized that looking at my bank statement that day prevented me from doing so.

Check this Video out!
http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/video?id=7160042
over 1 MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF MERCHANDISE SEIZED

Cited
"Knockouts of Knockoffs: The Global Implication of Fashion Piracy" Melissa A. Decker, Contemporary Perspectives
"Santa's Sweatshop: In a Global Economy, it's hard to Know Who Made Your Gift". Holstein et. al

Picture:
http://www.educatingforjustice.org/images/nike_sign.jpg

Chris Quach
Blog # 4

Blog #5: Santa's Sweatshop

After reading “Santa’s Sweatshop” I thought that the tips on “How to Shop” were helpful. It’s hard to think in that kind of mindset when you are shopping. Personally, I am instantly attracted to sales and low prices. In the back of my head, I know that low prices usually mean cheap labor and possibly low quality.

I think that the United States doesn’t use their population to their advantage. We depend on the cheap labor and poor quality for the product. I think that most people my age know about sweatshops, however, we continue to support companies like Nike and other “name-brand” companies that use sweatshops for production. I work at a retail store and this woman came in one time asking what country our clothes were made in. She refused to purchase clothes that were in countries that did not have any laws against child labor.

I also “googled” the phrase “Santa’s Sweatshop” and it’s a more commonly used term than I thought. I personally think that if we want to see change, we need to think and be more cautious shoppers. It’s sad to think that brands that we know very well, respect, and appreciate also participate in shady labor services.

http://www.changetowin.org/connect/images/sweatshop-santa.jpg


http://www.changetowin.org/connect/images/sweatshop-santa.jpg

Something to reflect on…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUkjOqefwmk&feature=fvsr

Holstein, William J., Brian Palmer, Shahid Ur-Rehman, and Timothy M. Ito. "Santa's Sweatshop." US News & World Report 121.24 (1996): 50+. Print.

"YouTube- Child Labour in China: Tiny Hands, Silent Voices." YouTube- Broadcast Yourself. Web. 31 Jan. 2010. .


Blog #5

-Roxanne L.

Santa's Sweatshop week #5 Mason Mallory

Labor conditions have been something UC Davis students, as well as students around the country have become aware of ever since high school. Altough it's only touched briefly upon and so late in our learning lives, it's truly amazing to see how most everything material that we consume is produced in another country. What we take for granted is the fact that the United States is an outsourcinng economy. We as a country don't produce anything ourselves anymore. The US economy solely depends on the production of goods outside of the country in order to maximize profit and appeal to the consumer. But how does these things happen without someone paying for it?

Well the low wages that companies pay to laborers keeps getting lower and lower due to contractor competition. But even this isn't the real problem with outsourcing to sweatshops that this article tries to get at. The working conditions of these low wage laborers have a necessary standard that should be witheld at all times. The reasons why they aren't are particularly beceause these big companies like Levi Jeans and Guess Jeans can't possibly keep a tab on all the contractors they outsource to. So why bite off more than you can chew? Well Levi Strauss & co, who have been an "acknowledged leader in imposing higher standards on its contractors"(pp 154) have cut down on the number of countries it outsources its labor to produce their goods. Burma is one of the main countries companies like Strauss have stopped working with simply because "Burmese authorities had not discontinued the practice" of forced labor and poor working conditions, and Burmese authorities said that they would stop cooperating with the ILO".** Other companies have started to do the same, in order to tackle this working condition issue. But its important to note that this problem is also hard to address because the time and money spent monitoring these conditions at all outsorucing contractors isn't worth it to the company. So in my opinion, the culture in this capitalist and globalized economy has simply dissolved into one simple ideal: Money is the priority. There is simply no respect for the common individual, even when the head of these companies pockets plenty of money to begin with.

When you have "as many as 15,000 children in Pakistan working long hours stitching together soccer balls" (pp 160) its hard for me to believe that monitoring costs for laboring conditions aren't worth facing.

There are upsides to this outsourcing labor, in the sense that it does provide jobs for third world nations, and simultaneously it helps the American economy as it provides cheaper goods, as opposed to nations like Japan and the UK where goods are on average more expensive.

Thus, it's important to bring back this ideal of human respect and monitor and check working conditions, even if it does take the 30,000$ out of the 1,830,000$ salary of the head executives of major companies that outsource.

It's hard for me to believe, but it blew me away to think about all the christmas presents I've received from family over the years and realizing that they all came from poor third world nations. I collected sports jerseys ever since I was seven years old, and the countless number of football and baseball jersey I have, ranging in quality and size paint a completely different picture for me, in regards to how I think now.

These sort of memories help me get through this compact challenge much easier, yet its still hard not to buy any clothes or accessories. wow..that last sentence made me sound like a girl..'like, totally' 0_0

But I have been true to not buying any clothes or excessive luxuries simply to challenge myself. It's worked pretty well, but then again I already have too many clothes, shoes, hats, even hair dye and nail polish...damn.

Article: Holstein, Palmer, Ur-Rehman and Ito Santa's Sweatshop: In a global economy, its hard to know who made your gift, and under what conditions

Images: #1 http://michaelaltendorf.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/ggazette_11_24_04_outsource.jpg

#2
http://blogs.fayobserver.com/livewire/files/2008/12/lotsa-christmas-presents.jpg

Outside Source: ** http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Asia-and-the-Pacific/Burma-Myanmar-WORKING-CONDITIONS.html

Journal 5: Team Sweatshop by Tien Dang

Walmart is one of the greatest business known to the American society. All mom and pop shops no longer exist because Walmart provides such cheap prices that entice consumers. However, how is it possible for Walmart to have such low prices for consumers? The answer is simple: sweatshops.



Sweatshop is not just practiced by Walmart however. It is a widely practiced concept among the marketing world. Like in Byun's article, the idea of sweatshop was practiced by Forever 21. Workers were both paid low wage, and the working conditions were atrocious. Because it is so commonly practiced, it provides a greater difficulty for the government to take action and prevent the injustices of sweatshop and abusing laborers.

This is an interesting topic because I actually just had a quick conversation about this issue among my friends. A weird topic to have arised, but we were discussing matters of the economy. My friends had different perceptions of what sweatshops consist of. And thinking back to my history classes in high school, I recalled the lessons taught. My friend had different ideas of what laborers were paid and I told them how they would be lucky to get wages by the hour. For the most part, they get paid by the garment. I even recalled the project I had in my history class.

We were set up in teams and were given different scenarios that were passed around in the class during different rounds. We had to follow the scenarios discussed and produce the most amount of products. Whoever produced more were paid more. As a result, my teammates and I furiously worked to increase production while lowering costs. The atmosphere was very sweatshop-ish because the task at hand was to quickly make bracelets and necklaces. Thus, I was able to get the feeling and need to produce that sweat shoppers get in their everyday lives. It's a very unnerving feeling and disconcerting.

For the consumerism challenge:

I failed last week. I bought a shirt. My friends and I went to the mall to prepare for my birthday celebration. I didn't need to buy anything because I had more than enough dresses to wear for the event. However, as I was browsing around to help my friend find a dress, I ran across a really cute shirt. It came in two different colors and since all of my friends were trying on dresses, I thought it would be fun to try some clothes on as well. However, while we ladies were bonding in the fitting room, my two friends claimed they adored the shirt on me. I decided to disregard the challenge and buy it. What they hey! It's mah birfday!

I stood in line thinking about the challenge, but my feet just would not take me back. My friends sold the dress to me and I could not help to take the dress back. My hands have been itching for boots and a camera now. I still rationalize that it's all for my birthday since it's today! That's excuseable... right?





Bibliography:

Chuck Q Byun. "Forever in Trouble?" New America Media: Expnading the News Lens Through Ethnic Media. KoreAm Journal. 2003.

Images:

http://theapostolicreport.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/walmart.jpg
http://www.newint.org/features/2007/04/01/20_sweatshop.jpg
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_c61eMeyLay8/RzNIWFM_hVI/AAAAAAAABeA/Y_oAmAwMbLw/s400/11.6.07_Whit_DelAmo345.JPG

Making the Invisible Visible



Today many American’s are concerned over the issue of working conditions and sweatshops, yet these harsh issues still cease to exist. The picture above is a display of two cartoon characters talking about the issues of sweatshops. If clothes are not made from sweatshops then where are they made from? This is significant because many Americans do not know where the products they consume come from.

In the class readings, “a U.S. News poll shows that 6 in 10 Americans are concerned about working conditions under which products are made in the United States and more than 9 in 10 are concerned about the working conditions under which products are made in Asia and Latin America. But few consumers possess enough information to make informed buying decisions. (Holistien, 169). Could consumer blindness be because of invisibility? In the article “Making the Invisible Visible,” Su talks about the exploitation of Thai workers in the garment industry of El Monte and the media’s role in creating visibility and awareness to theses kinds of issues. On August 2, 1995, 71 Thai garment workers were discovered in the suburb of El Monte. They were found living in a barbed wire apartment and forced to work in harsh conditions. Many of these workers were forced to work in eighteen hours shifts with no benefits, health care, or agency. After media news coverage, this helped shed light on many of the Thai garment workers because as the news aired, the public felt much sympathy because the Thai workers were working in slave conditions. As a result, the media is a powerful tool by making people more aware of the issue of working conditions and sweatshops. With the media, people can be more informed about buying decisions and where products are made.

Overall, in order to understand the continued prevalence of sweatshops, and the role they play both in our lives and in our economies we must examine the process by which clothes are made and then sold on to us as consumers.

Anancy Thao

Blog #5

Sources:

Holstein, Palmer, Ur-Rehman and Ito. “Santa’s Sweatshop: In a Global Economy, it’s Hard to Know Who Made Your Gift—and Under What Conditions.” Class Reader.

http://www.trinitynews.ie/index.php/news/news-features/234-the-brutal-business-of-sweatshops

http://www.law.unc.edu/documents/poverty/publications/dirtylaundry.pdf

If it LOOKS the LOOK then it is therefore the LOOK!

As we have discussed in class, the process of mimicking is happening all around the world. Moreover, "with the introduction of advanced technology and production capabilities," it is a common act for the general public as a way to gain access to the higher-class and its fashion. Since appearances is central to social class status, it is essential that mimicking will serve to solidify the distinction of class. Often, the mimicking process tend to exclude the group with limited access to a certain clothing or fashion for financial reasons such as the expenses and costs of purchase.

For instance, brand name purses would be considered a big deal to a majority number of ladies. But the question is can you tell a fake bag from the real thing? It looks almost identical to me and what matters most is the person who owns the item is happy! One study found that "people judge whether a bag is real or fake based on the person wearing it." Likewise, "if the person's outfit and overall comportment seem 'high class' people tend to believe the bag they're carrying is authentic; whereas if the person's clothes seem low quality, their bag is perceived to be a Chinatown creation." I'm not a big brand name or trend follower so I can't really say I support piracy nor do I take sides. But it just seems unfair to be "judging a book by its cover," yet everyone is constantly judging one another and discriminating each other.

I can sympathize for both sides' negative and positive impact. It's not hard to understand that the designers are accredited to set a price that they want to sell their products since they were at work coming up with the new design. So, it hurts them when they do not make enough profit as they intend to. But from a consumer's point of view, I can say that pirated items are a good source as an alternative to fashion at a more manageable budget. Fashion used to be that only the people with more wealth and money can access brand name items but nowadays anyone can get access to the same if not similar "celebrities look" or "brand name items" at a lower expense. If mimicking is the only way to gain access to the higher class and perceive the image of a wealthy person then be it. Of course the fake items doesn't fool everyone who are aware of the fashion, but it is successful at making the person owning the item happier because they do not appear as the outcast but someone with "wealth." My motto is to "keep moving forward" and try not to compare yourself because you are all you have so why negotiate for something you don't have? Instead, just appreciate what you already have and enjoy life more rather than wasting your time with what's fake and what's real. Would you rather be miserable for being broke because you just purchase a diamond ring with all the money you have? or would you rather be happy with the money you do have? I mean, come on, you can choose to spend that amount of money on something else such as donating to charity or spend it on a family's vacation or something more worthwhile than regret later on spending money on something that is in one day and out the next(fashion)?


The good news for my compact challenge is that I still haven't bought any new clothes or "brand name purses." However, this past week the refrigerator at my apartment was broken so I ended up eating out a lot more than ever because all the foods I had went bad and were thrown out due to a broken frig. I have to say, food is equally expensive if not more expensive than spending on clothes. Well, I guess I can say that because my clothes are not that crazily expensive! But anyways, eating out is really expensive and sometimes does not even taste good or worthwhile. I usually eat the foods my mom made for me from home or cook for myself but I have been too busy with school that I have not had the opportunity to go home for mom's home cooked meals or even have time to cook anymore. On another note, I still haven't found the perfect pair of rain boots and the weather forecast says it's going to rain all week again this week. That's just great, just my luck. What a hectic week it had been. Until next time, take care y'all!

Blog #5 by Thuy Duong

Citations:
1)Decker, Melissa. "Knockouts of Knockoffs:" The Global Implication of Fashion Piracy. Valverde, Caroline Kieu Linh. Class Reader. ASA 189B, Winter 2010. Print.

2)http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.blogcdn.com/www.bvonstyle.com/media/2009/12/fake-purses1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.bvonstyle.com/2009/12/11/faking-it-can-you-tell-fake-bags-from-the-real-thing/&usg=__Fh_dz2UY2oI0Yo0iVckVUnivYmY=&h=600&w=800&sz=167&hl=en&start=1&sig2=0O6WmHhPwFn05XVs2PxNMA&um=1&tbnid=yHC53IqbRdm_7M:&tbnh=107&tbnw=143&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dfake%2Bvs%2Breal%2Bbrand%2Bname%2Bpurses%26hl%3Den%26um%3D1&ei=JltmS8X6M6bmtAPL_qmdAw

Piracy is it a problem?


Every time I read something negative about piracy it is always about "how the industry is suffering, due to piracy." I have no doubt that piracy has negative effects, but to claim it will negatively affect an entire industry? I'm not so sure I'll buy that, in fact I probably wouldn't even pirate it.

Decker argues that "unless the anti-counterfeit message is heard, public health and safety of consumers lies in the hands of counterfeiters. While designer knockoffs may only result in financial and reputation disparagement, dodge airplane parts and counterfeit pharmaceuticals kill" (19). Okay, so Decker argues that piracy in fashion will lead to piracy of more important products. First off, if products such as airplane parts are being sold and bought by airplane companies, the airplane companies should consider putting better quality checks in the airplanes that they fly. Secondly, piracy has been in existence since people started sailing the ocean, and yet humanity has survived this far, so somehow I think humanity will manage. Joking aside, I believe piracy of intellectual thought has always existed. For instance ledgendary myths and stories that were once told orally was passed around in an open-source manner, and not restricted by copyrights laws. Imagine if copyright laws existed back then; great stories like The Monkey King probably wouldn't have survived to the modern day, because people would be forced to pay an absurd amount of money for the licensing fee and then when people retell the stories anyways they complain about loosing profits they would have had.

Which leads me to the issue I have with anti-piracy ideology, the fact that they believe they are loosing money. According to TorrentFreak blog "Compared to music buyers, music sharers (pirates) are 31% more likely to buy single tracks online. 33% more likely to buy music albums online. 100% more likely to pay for music subscription services.60% more likely to pay for music on mobile phone." Essentially people who pirate digital media are much more likely to pay for the products online. If you delve into Torrentfreak's blog further you'll notice that this statistic is not rare. People pirating media have often report buying stuff they like. However, the idea that piracy is harmful to an industry has been debunked time and time again. Furthermore, piracy tends to help the industry in many ways; for instance it acts as free advertisement through "word of mouth" the media will reach a wider audience.

What the argument for piracy boils down to is that it's a tool for consumers to reclaim the market and force artificially high products to be cheaper as well as telling the industry that people want quality production (something not easily replicated). I think that products that are being sold for ridiculously high prices only ask for piracy when their product can easily be replicated at a cheaper cost. For instance, the amount of junky movies in theatres now a days is mind numbing, is it any shock people would rather pirate something like The tooth Fairy and not Avatar? Clearly people expect a quality movie when they pay 12 bucks for the tickets right? Additionally, I don't believe you can own an idea, you can claim it as yours but to restrict someone from using your idea? Good luck with that. If I was the first to wear blue clothes and then say it represents me, and no one else can wear blue how would you respond? Probably by just ignoring me and wearing blue anyways. This is the response consumers have given to piracy in fashion. You can not tell someone to not look like you, it's just silly.

Post# 5
Hoa

Reading: Decker, Melissa A. "'Knockouts of Knockoffs:' the Global Implication of Fashion Piracy." 2004.
outside source: http://torrentfreak.com/pirates-are-the-music-industrys-most-valuable-customers-100122/
picture from http://www.metronc.com/article/?id=1118

Can you spot the fake? Post # 5


Photobucket

Lets face it...we're all guilty of buying knockoffs.... heck i have a pair of knockoff converse, vans, and a Le Sport Sac bag that my grandma got me from the Philippines. To be frank, i don't really care about whether if an item is real or fake as long as it works, lasts me, and looks good. There are certain items that can pass off as the real things, but there are some that just don't. However, in this weeks reading "Knockouts of Knockoffs:" The Global Implication of Fashion Piracy" by Melissa Decker, we learn of the effects that counterfeiting merchandise has on the fashion economy and world. I recently went to the Philippines this past summer for vacation; Philippines is definitely one of the top places to buy counterfeit merchandise. I went with my cousin to a place called the "Dibisorya", its basically a really large mall (but think flea market style) that sells counterfeit goods... I'm serious, 4 floors of counterfeit merchandise! But back to the the real issue of fake merchandise. The selling and buying of these counterfeit merchandise is affecting the business aspect of fashion. "The depths of the counterfeiting trade are staggering; it is estimated that between five to ten percent of global commerce is composed of trademark piracy accounts" (Decker pg. 6) WOW!!! 5-10 percent of global commerce is composed of fake merchandise sellers; for all we know we have been buying fake goods and believing they are real. In
Decker's essay, she talks about how the internet is one of the helping elements in the counterfeit world. I've bought stuff on the internet before and it never crossed my mind whether it was real or fake; however I've never bought expensive things online so I don't think I've been fooled yet. However, there are many cases in which websites advertise name brand products on sale and people fall for it not knowing if the goods are real or not. Sometimes websites will simply put "buyer beware". The effect of fakes takes a good chunk out of the fashion business' global trade, " a recent report demonstrated the devastation caused through noting... "in a five-year period when global trade grew by 47 percent, the market for counterfeit goods increased threefold." ( Galbraith) " (Decker pg. 7) I was reading an article online from business week about how fake Louis Vuitton bags can be spotted; the article said that a fake LV bag can be spotted by simply just looking at the person holding it. REALLY?! what if the person just wanted to look laid back or was just lazy and didn't want to have to change bags? MIT researcher said that it depends on "social cues" and that fakes can be easily spotted because higher class people could pull it off better. PSHHHH whatever, I think it depends on the person who uses the damn bag... if you look good and you can pull it off- PROPS to ya! This whole social status thing is ridiculous! Oh.... remember that Counterfeit Mall I was talking about in the beginning of my blog? I went inside and this guy goes up to me and asks "Those Nike's are real huh?- can I buy them off you?" -- really now...even if they were used, what people will do to have the real things, I'm just glad he didn't rip them off my feet and runaway with them!


Compact Challenge...

Didn't buy anything except a lot of food because my fridge at home died on me and made all my food go bad! grrrrr!!!! T_T My mother tempted me this past weekend and asked if I wanted new boots, but i said NO! It looks like I'll be using those rain-boots I bought again this week, its going to start raining on tuesday and won't end until...i dont really know when cuz the weather people only predicted until friday. But its raining all week, don't forget your umbrellas people! Being cold and wet does not feel good at all! A dollar a day is making my piggy fat!!!

Photobucket <---- my piggy bank!

Photobucket
Works Cited:

Decker, Melissa A. "'Knockouts of Knockoffs:' the Global Implication of Fashion Piracy." 2004.
Tirrell, Meg. "Fake Louis Vuitton Bags Don't Fool Anyone." Www.businessweek.com. 7 Dec. 2009. Web. 31 Jan. 2010.
Photos: my photos

POST # 5 - April Gatpayat




Santa's Sweatshop

Holstein et al. put it best when they explained, "In an era when the economy is necessarily a global one, it is impossible for consumers to avoid products made under less than ideal labor conditions" (153). Personally, I think it would be counterintuitive to point a finger at just one company for their exploitation of sweatshop workers, when in reality, almost everything that an individual owns is a product of a globalization and harsh working conditions. For instance, in the current state of the American economy, it would make more sense for a family with two-unemployed heads of the household to buy clothing for their children at WalMart rather than spending 25 dollars for a fair-trade t-shirt. While this does seem like the more practical decision, what these parents may not realize is that, according to the UFCW, WalMart is the largest importer of Chinese goods - these goods being a product of poverty-level wages and slave-like abuse. In reality, the continuing struggle between harsh working conditions and the global economy is unfortunately inevitable. Thus, while recommendations by organizations such as Green America (http://www.greenamericatoday.org/programs/sweatshops/whatyoucando/index.cfm) do offer ideas to end sweatshops and forced child labor, it will still be a long time before a majority of Americans find this alternative beneficial to themselves and their families.

In other news, the Compact Challenge has been surprisingly easy. Seeing as how I am a struggling college student, it wouldn't make sense to spend my money on anything besides food. Honestly, I really do have everything I need within the comforts of my bedroom. Besides, what would be the point of buying a new shirt when in this weather I would probably cover it up with a sweatshirt?


By Jo Anne Lasola
Post #5


Green America. "What You Can Do."
http://www.greenamericatoday.org/programs/sweatshops/whatyoucando/index.cfm

Holstein, et al. "Santa's Sweatshop: In a Global Economy, it's Hard to Know Who Made Your Gift - and Under What Conditions." Class Reader.

UFCW. "Wal-Martization and Sweatshops."
http://www.ufcw.org/press_room/fact_sheets_and_backgrounder/walmart/sweat_shops.cfm

Image:
http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/ksm/lowres/ksmn81l.jpg

Is it Real or Fake?



It's amazing how knockoffs are starting to look more and more like the authentic high end goods. According to Melissa A. Decker in "'Knockouts of Knockoffs',..." "improvements in technology have taken the skill out of manufacturing to the extent that it is almost impossible to differentiate between knock-offs and genuine goods when they are right besides each other," (Decker 5). Unfortunately, that means some of us could be buying fakes since these knock-offs can easily by placed on a shelf and sold at a store, and we wouldn't even know. During the winter of 2009, my mom went back to China to visit our family, she told me how there were a lot of fake Louis Vuitton sold for 2/3 the price of a real LV purse, but the knock-off looked so real that most people thought it was authentic.

This also reminds me of how when people think of counterfeit goods, the first country that pops into their mind is China. "However, other European and Asian countries also contribute to the problem by providing the assembly grounds for the merchandise," (Decker 5). Therefore, we can't put all the blame on China and counterfeiting is a global problem. "Due to the boom and bust of the dotcoms," (Decker 6) the Internet has made it easier to sell knockoffs online and to anywhere in the world. This makes me wonder, then how are we to know what is real and what is fake?

As for the Compact Challenge, I getting tired of cooking at home because I'm constantly washing dishes. They just keep coming back! I don't know if I broke one of the rules for the challenge because I bought a new camera. Would a camera be considered art supplies?? If I did break a rule, I'm sorry. :(

<3 Annie Tan
Blog #5

Works Cited:
Decker, Melissa A. "'Knockouts of Knockoffs:' the Global Implication of Fashion Piracy." 2004.

Images:
http://images.teamsugar.com/files/users/3/33168/41_2007/louis-vuitton-monogran-canvas-bags_0.preview.jpg

Blog#5

Okay let us begin early this time, since every other blog posting I have made in this class has been made on the fly, right before the deadline, or I hope it made the deadline. So bear with me as I get my thoughts in order. So first point the topic of Counterfeiting in fashion is discussed in the readings, and well since it is the topic of my group’s research project I should go over a bit of it I guess in the blog. However for most of this week I have been cooped up in my apartment doing other class projects my insight (what few of it I have) of fashion will not be as interesting as before.


First Counterfeiting, my first experience with it was when a family friend came from shanghai and bought me this counterfeit wrist watch. Even though it was not the real thing, I treasured it, and well even when it stopped working I kept it till now. Now Counterfeiting is a big business, nearly comprising 5%-10% of international trading and several tens of Billion dollars business or as mentioned in the video around 150 billion Euros. Counterfeiting is the creation of a copy and selling it as the original and well it has become a problem for many designers, where their products are reproduced without their knowledge or profit.


The Implications of continued Counterfeiting is a drain on a brands resources, to compete with a perceived inferior version of itself. While many think of this as “Robin Hood” taking from the rich to satisfy the poor in reality the theft of these designs is a crime showing that what we think up is no longer ours. Now while I personally do rarely purchases counterfeit products and participate occasionally with pirated goods I still respect the creators and if I am inclined to support a creation I do purchase it legally. While this my seem hypocritical of me, which it retrospect it is, I still see it as a possible trend to which there may exist a classless society, where all distinctions are gone because of a birth where the quality of something I may get for a lot less (or even free) is equal to the original there is no more market for the original and well without a market for one product, it could go with all products creating a market-society and maybe a market-less world.

Compact Challenge Update:

Still going strong with my usual lifestyle of free and used items, with no strong temptations as of yet but with a 25 dollar gift card burning a hole in my pocket that my change and a need for new shoes as my old ones currently have a hole and the raining/puddle season has soaked my soaks on many occasion. All in all the challenge while no to difficult might soon be broken by the weather and by circumstance.

Eric Keng

Entry # 5

WORKS CITED

http://www.france24.com/en/20080403-fashion-special-counterfeit-edition

Melissa A. Decker. “”Knockouts of Knockoffs:” the Global Implication of Fashion Piracy.”

Blind Consumers in Counterfeit Fashion


Several years ago my brother bought a pair of Air Jordan XIII from eBay. While eBay has been a reliable source when it comes to buying items especially clothing such as shoes, but unfortunately, he was a victim of buying a counterfeit shoe. This was first identified when a family friend took notice of it and much to his disbelief and embarassment it was true. The incident didn't harm my brother's well being overall in the long run, but it does still harm the credibility of him from the perspective of others that noticed that he bought q pair of fake Air Jordan XIII foolishly on eBay.


Breaking down a fake or authentic pair of Air Jordan XIII

The one thing including the person that posted this video is that they are collectors (of the Air Jordan brand) and know what's real or not in through understanding the design of the product. At the same time, this coming from people who "have a desire for the real thing (Decker 11)." It's easy for an internet consumer to not take into detail what they are getting themselves into once they purchased a counterfeited item. The first thing that always that appeals to the consumer is always the price which stands out and usually that catches their eyes and this was the case for my brother. Also, the most important aspect of this is that the seller would do everything in their power to convince the consumer that it's a real product (www.prlog.org).

It's important for individuals to be educated of this matter and know the in's and out's in purchasing items such as the Air Jordan XIII shoes that I mentioned. I personally ran into several websites that features the best advice for these situations and the best advice I've seen is to report such matter to especially in the case of eBay. While Decker's article mentions about the awareness of counterfeiting have been pushed aside from the authorities and consumers, reporting such matters have to be raised (17). I do believe that this is something that everyone has to cooperate and prevent such measures in harming the creator's work.

On the other hand, I've been more careful with what I'm purchasing regardless it's from the internet or at a store. I know there's a certain purpose to go against consumerism especially in terms of materialism especially from corporations like Nike, but I think copying for the benefit for the seller for profit is bad as they take advantage of the buyer by deceiving them. I do believe there is a certain code and a set of rules can be made to counteract measures in consumerism especially in this case for fashion. In the end, I'm all for the support to fight counterfeiting as it discredits and harms the vision of the creator that put their work behind it to make their work in creating fashion for their appeal of their audience.

Andrew Legaspi
Blog #3

Works Cited
From Reader:
Melissa A. Decker. “”Knockouts of Knockoffs:” the Global Implication of Fashion Piracy.”

Other Outside sources:
Quick Ways to tell if the Air Jordan XIII is authentic or fake.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X2NH1qRge4. Youtube.com. Posted by jStar25 on February 27, 2009.

http://www.prlog.org/10458760-top-ten-tips-on-how-to-spot-counterfeit-designer-clothing.html

Image
http://blog.sneakersandshoes.com/2007/11/03/charles-barkley-alpha-force-1-mid-part-ii-11-10-07/

Global Sweatshops

Maybe this has partly to do with my class project: counterfeit production, but I really like the article on “Santa’s Sweatshops.” . People have known about horrible working conditions of underpaid workers for a long time. But, it’s quite bothersome that this still exists. The loopholes company (developing and developed countries alike) use to continue these cheap productions is not diminishing. Companies are getting smarter in finding new ways to beat the system. First-world countries “enforce” proper conditions of these factories, but in reality, they don’t care. They just want the perfect final product, their bread and butter.

Holstein, etc. states that labor, civic, religious, investor and consumer groups pushed to improve the conditions of workers at the lowest end of a global supply chain. I don’t buy it. It was just a heat of the moment thing about regulations; this article was written awhile back. It’s 2010, and conditions have not changed, but hidden to the public eye. This “global souring” is just the exploitation for foreign workers. And just when you think Made in U.S.A. items are made under good conditions, think again! “Don't assume that a made-in-the-U.S.A. label means a product is necessarily made under ideal conditions. High-fashion products, particularly designer jeans, often are not” (Holstein). So, where does our money go when we pay triple the price for those designer jeans?!

During individual research week, I found a lot of information on counterfeits production and sweatshops in China. Two documentaries in particular I found eye-opening is “China Blue,” directed by MichaX. Peled and “Mardi Gras: Made in China by David Redmon. In China Blue, Peled takes viewers inside the factories of the workers. These workers, most of them young women, assemble denim clothing for export to overseas. They are underpaid, work under horrible conditions, and get docked off their salary if they are caught chatting. This, along with the documentary by Redmon shows the conditions of workers and the economic pressures applied by Western companies. Workers often are forced to lie to authorities on their working conditions so to avoid getting in trouble by the manufacture owners. In “Mardia Gras,” Redman takes viewers on a journey of China and New Orleans. People in New Orleans throw around the beads like trash vs. workers in Chinas are working their butt off to assemble these necklaces for one night of fun. The two documentaries show the connection between the exploited young workers in China and U.S. consumers. After watching these documentaries, I find myself thinking about the lives of the workers who made me clothes…

Compact challenge update: This is so hard! I can’t pick up an item without thinking about this challenge or where it came from! I’ve cut back a lot on splurging on clothes, which is great on the wallet. I haven’t even gone on Amazon to take a peek for the past week (WOW!). I’ve been hearing a lot about Apple’s iPad, or whatever it’s called. I refuse to look at it… because temptation is a ***** if I can’t buy it!

This challenge works much easier if you just keep yourself busy. Let’s see how long I can keep this up because I have to go to Costco in a bit. Bulk item galore!

Blog # 5

Maggie Chui

Works Cited

Holstein, William J., et al. “Santa’s Sweatshop: In a Global Economy, it’s Hard to Know Who Made Your Gift – and Under What Conditions.”

Image: http://www-tc.pbs.org/independentlens/chinablue/images/film_top.jpg

Video: http://www.youtube.com/v/6kCxvbBsv00&hl=en_US&fs=1&

Links: http://www.carnivalesquefilms.com/mgmic.html

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/chinablue/film.html

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Made in...?!?!?



Have you ever wonder where your clothes were made from? where they were made? who made them?

This seem to be the question that many people avoid to know or they don't even care to know.

Let me break this down...There are very few products are actually have a tagline that says "Made in U.S.A" why? We all knows.

As of this week, there are several articles in my reader about the sweatshop garments industries. I have heard and reads several stories about this and these readings are not so surprising to me. As describe in the article "Forever in Trouble?" by Chuck Q.Byun, to maximize the profits that manufacturers or retailers can make, the best decision is to make their garments outside of the U.S in some Third World Countries where the wages are way lower than here in America or they can simply make it right here in the U.S and have immigrants or even illegal immigrants who were hired with a very low wage, no overtime wages, and even unpaid hours overtime. (Byun)There are so many loop holes that the manufacturers can get the workers to work under very low wage so the profits will be higher.

Where is the humanity in this? People in general are just plain evil. They are willing to sacrifices the other just for themselves. Rather than landing the helping hands to the immigrant workers, the manufacturers and retailers used this chance to hire the immigrant workers, especially of Latino and Asian who clearly cannot fully understand their rights and very passive, to work for very cheap cheap cheap rates.

This not only happened in the fashion industry but spread out everywhere around the economies. Many of my family members are still working under the condition like the sweatshop workers. I asked them s many times why haven't they do anything about it but the answer always the same. They are scare of losing their jobs, not being to find another one, or that they cannot speak English. The language barriers always the best excuse they can give. I always heard them complains about their jobs and then go on to say that they will find a better job next year. Then next year will go into next year. On and on with the "next year" song. Then 10 years later, they are still stuck in the same place. Why am I so useless in this situation? I cannot even help them speaking of helping others.

Anyways, i heard the sweatshop workers situation since the first ASA class i took and it totally change my point of view toward purchasing and choosing clothes. I always have to check the label of where they were made and what store I want to shop in. Though sometimes the clothes are a little more expensive but at least i have the ease of mind wearing it.

A little side thought. If we stop buying the clothes that made from the sweatshop workers, will they be out of jobs? Are we doing the right things?

But nowadays, it so hard to tell if the clothes are from the sweatshop workers or not and do we really have time to do all the research about it and deciding where to buy, etc....Hence, most people do not care and they will continue to shop, ignoring the fact that the workers are being treated unfairly in this situation.

So what is best for us to do now? The world is a mess already and we just a pawn in its game. We are willing to fight but our force are too scare, too shy to cooperate.



At least there are several people like McKee Yu knows what right and what wrong. He trade in the high profits for quality in both clothes making and workers working condition...

"Money make the world goes blind". "We should go back to be MONKEY" like what Chau Huynh has said in class :D! Then everything will be simpler :D



A little update on the Compact Challenge:

So to feed my shopaholic appetite, I've been going groceries shopping to make my own food. Not only it help me eating healthy but it feeding my shopaholic side too. I must admit i did bought a few more piece of warm clothes (3 to be exact) but they are pretty much on the clearance side at Target (sale Sale sAle). Though, I also spend money because of my design project of building models but i manage to shared the stuff with my friend to lower the cost. This project is harder than it seem. Friends are very helpful on this project too :D They always used this project to pick on me but at the same time, remind me not to shop :P

Alright, it's late!
and
Tu's out!

Tu Le
Blog #5

Byun, Chuck Q. "Forever In Trouble?." New America Media 04 Apr 2003: n. pag. Web. 19 April 2007. .

Image 1: http://ladysheqa.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/72_forever-21-logo.jpg
Image 2: http://www.dealio.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/ae_logo.gif
Image 3: http://www.emobilez.com/iphone-wallpapers/data/media/30/armani_exchange_logo.jpg