So I’m sure you’ve all seen the Victoria’s Secret commercials advertising the new Spice Girls CD and touting the power of pajamas as a Christmas gift. I always change the channel too quickly to find out if they’re actually selling the CD or giving it away free, though I can’t imagine it’s the former and not the latter. Regardless, I just wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate the difference between huge corporate retailers like VS and small boutiques like Lille.
People sometimes ask us why they should pay $50 for a cotton camisole or $20 for a basic panty when they can just go to ‘insert big box store name here’ and get a set for around $14.99. I always try my best to explain that the independent designers like Poet, Araks and The Lake and Stars have all their garments made in New York factories by people earning a fair wage and working under regulated conditions, rather than a sweatshop in Southeast Asia. Companies like Ciel even go out of their way to ensure the same standards for the Peruvian farmers who produce their Organic Cotton. Consequently, production costs are higher, thereby driving up the retail price. The end result is a quality product, produced by American workers just like you and me. This intimate connection between our suppliers is important to us, just as buying local produce or supporting small businesses is to so many Portlanders.
There is a very eye-opening article about Free Trade and the appalling conditions at Victoria’s Secret production facilities in Jordan on TheHuffingtonPost.com. I highly recommend reading it before purchasing any holiday gifts from this company for your loved ones. I know as well as anyone, it’s hard to resist a good bargain. But especially now, when we know the truth and have the option to choose, we need to consider the human cost involved in getting our $7 panty on.