Posted by Pastor Stuart

As a kid, I was overwhelmed with curiosity about what Christmas presents I would get. For gifts that were wrapped under the tree early, I examined them like a CSI forensics expert examines a body for clues: What shape is the box? How heavy is it? What does it sound like when shaken? Does it shift when turned over? Can you peek through slits in the wrapping paper? What could it be???

Of course unwrapping the presents was a huge delight. Although, every now and then, you got the most unexciting present a boy could get: clothes. And soon I noticed a trend: clothes often came in white rectangular boxes.

From then on, whenever I unwrapped a present and saw the white box, I knew what was coming: a shirt, a pair of pants, or just boring old socks. (Which I’m sure I needed at the time but weren’t nearly as fun as toys.) Honing my Christmas gift CSI skills, I could then identify clothes presents even while wrapped, by the shape and feel of the white box inside.

Now, though, I don’t need anymore toys. But I do need socks and undershirts, so I actually welcome gifts of clothes. However, when money is spent on me, I don’t want it to go to mean, jerky people. So what’s a gift-giver to do?

Helpfully, the Baptist churches in Australia put together this report called “The Ethical Fashion Guide,” which determines how naughty or nice, mean or kind, immoral or ethical, some big fashion companies are.

The gave 128 brands a grade, from A to F, for how ethical they act. The Guide says that it “seeks to empower consumers to purchase ethically, and by doing so, encourage companies to ensure workers are protected and not harmed, that they are rewarded not exploited, and that they work free from the tyranny of modern slavery.” Good!

I don’t want my gift money helping to support terrible people and practices. It’s true that I like saving money by buying cheaper stuff, but somebody still pays for the difference. And I’d rather pay a few extra bucks then help a company that forces children to work in horrible conditions.

This article about the report has good info and a handy list of the grades that some brands received (check the article for more):

  • Abercrombie and Fitch (D+)
  • Adidas (B+)
  • Banana Republic (B)
  • Converse (B)
  • Forever 21 (D-)
  • Fruit of the Loom (D)
  • Gap (B)
  • Hanes (A-)
  •  Hush Puppies (B)
  • Jockey (B)
  • Kmart (D)
  • Lee Jeans (C+)
  • Levi Strauss (B)
  • New Balance (B)
  • Nike (B)
  • Old Navy (B)
  • Osh Kosh (D-)
  • Playtex (A-)
  • Puma (B)
  • Reebok (B+)
  • Skechers (F)
  • Spalding (C-)
  • Target (C-)
  • The North Face (C+)
  • Timberland (A-)

Now I know some brands I’ll want to avoid, and some that I’ll really want to encourage. To help get you thinking about things like this, here’s a 2 min. video that the Australian Baptists put together. They say that they just want to help create “a world where poverty has ended and all people enjoy the fullness of life God intends.” Me too!

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