Category: photo

‘Made in Bangladesh’ clothing label collection

We’re setting up our ‘What (not) to wear’ fashion ethics Challenge at the University of Exeter at the moment.

As a starting point, we’re collecting photos of ‘Made in Bangladesh’ labels from people’s clothes (our clothes, too). Here’s what we have so far.

One set is found: a gallery of photos that people uploaded to the photo-sharing site flickr. Click the thumbnails or link below to see all 18.

Nine West Stretch 2P Made in Bangladesh  Brand New  $30"Made in Bangladesh"...Made in BangladeshMade in BangladeshMade in Bangladesh !
Bought a t-shirt, noticed its Made in Bangladesh. I love my Bangladesh.Hanes, t-shirt. Made in Bangladesh.Coles Mix Clothing still made in BangladeshLevi's, 513 jeans. Made in Bangladesh.#0010 - Rockstar Games cap - Made in Bangladesh
fashnspire.comIMG_6131Hope your not exploiting my brothers and sisters @bobbyhundreds is made in #bangladeshBoy Scouts of ...where?Anvil - Himsa
Team SpiritBrice Made in BangladeshAnd the another one is made in #bangladesh

The second set is new:  label photos we’ve asked for and put together on our ‘What (not) to wear’ website.

We’d like to add more. Could you help out by doing your own fashion audit and sending us your  ‘Made in Bangladesh’ labels to add to the page?

Send us your photos via @followthethings or followthethings@yahoo.com

Thanks!

Quite literally ‘following the thing’

Talking about our site with students at Bath Spa University this week, I wanted to show the most literal (and chilling) example of the ‘follow the things’ genre. It’s the only example we have come across which follows something as it’s being made, shipped, and used: telling the story of a thing’s life from the perspective of the thing itself, from its ‘point of view’, like a ‘shoot-em-up’ video game. It’s the ‘Life of a bullet’, the opening scene from the 2005 movie ‘Lord of War’.

Life of a bullet

Lego re-creation

Revisiting this opening scene, we made a new Lego re-creation today using the decommissioned AK47 bullet that we bought as a necklace from an E-Bay seller in Canada. We initially bought it to take the product photo on this example’s followthethings.com page, but it’s still sitting in our office, with our Lego, so…

Lord of Ward movie trailer: the life of a bullet

followthethings.com page

Our page about the making, discussion and impacts of this opening scene is here. To see all of our Lego re-creations, check this ‘Made in Lego’ set on flickr.

Flo the Cat: shopping & sharing

How can we use images to tell the stories we want to tell – an avoid repeating the ones we don’t? (Platform 2012).

Flo the cat nunzilla

We were very happy to see that Set 11 of Lego’s Minifigures included a new Grandma figure with a cat and shopping bag. We purchased our Grandma at the Thomas Moore store in Exeter, where staff can tell you what’s in each packet just by feeling it.

flo th ecat nunzilla 2

We know that photos of Cats and Lego are among the most shared on social media. We want more people to know about our site and what it’s all about. ‘Flo the Cat’ is helping us to do this.

These are the first ‘What the cat brought home’ photos that we added to Flo’s flickr set today. They point towards our page on Anna Chen’s 2010 Radio 4 investigation China, Britain and the Nunzilla Conundrum. Let us know what you think and, maybe, buy yourself a cat and bag and take some other ‘Flo the cat’ photos for us to publish.

If you haven’t seen Nunzilla wound up and in action, watch this short video:

And here’s what this radio show did with her:

“[The Nunzilla Conundrum] takes the example of British designed, Chinese-made ironic novelty gifts … and expands it into an illuminating discussion of the cultural differences between the two nations, with Chinese production line workers hard-pressed to describe what it is they’re making while British designers are oh-so keen to deconstruct the joke” (Naughton 2010, np).

See our page for more.

Happy ‘shopping’: making & using followthethings.com bags

This post began as a contribution to a special issue of the journal ACME on the new ‘impact’ agenda in British Higher Education. Our shopping bags and ‘ladybugging’ activities seemed to fit this bill, although their ‘impact’ wasn’t measurable (and that was the point). In the end, another short piece on impact was written for the journal. We have revised that original paper to post here, and hope it may be interesting for readers who are keen to use our site and/or bags in their teaching and wider ‘shopping’ activities.

Update September 2016: sorry, we have no bags left to give away. They’ve all gone. If you have one, it’s a priceless collector’s item. If you see someone carrying one, please say hi.

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“We need to develop forms of critique that inspire hauntings, feed feelings, come alive, leap out and grab us, … that are not just about vital materiality but are themselves vitally material” (Cook & Woodyer 2012 p.238).

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Why Lego ‘Primark on the rack 2013’?

We researched a 2009 BBC Panorama documentary ‘Primark on the rack’ for followthethings.com. This was a documentary exposing Primark for producing its notoriously cheap clothes in Indian sweatshops. It contained a 45 second scene in which child labourers were filmed checking that sequins were firmly attached to its sequined tops. Primark claimed that this scene had been ‘faked’ and made a concerted effort to discredit the whole film, with mixed success (detailed on our site here).

As with many of our pages, we made a few scenes in Lego, uploaded them to a flickr set, and embedded them. Today, we added a couple of new scenes to our ‘Primark on the rack’ set, to bring the story up to date.

factory photo office photo

These scenes are intended to highlight a theme that cuts across a number of examples of followthethings filmmaking on our site: corporations responding to sweatshop, worker health and environmental destruction exposures by employing public relations and/or legal teams to ‘prove’ that key scenes – and, by implication, whole films – are ‘faked’. This is, for example, how Primark responded to the BBC documentary in 2009, how Dole responded to Fredrik Gertten’s documentary ‘Bananas!*’ in 2009 (link), and how Chevron responded to Joe Berlinger’s documentary ‘Crude: the real price of oil’ in 2009 (link).

This past week has seen relentless TV news footage and newspaper column inches devoted to the Savar Rana garment factory collapse. Journalists have told unfolding stories of dramatic rescue efforts and the shocking numbers of people who made Primark, Joe Fresh, Matalan, Mango, Benneton, Bon Marche and other branded clothes being found dead in the wreckage of their workplace or missing, presumed dead.

NGOs and others are putting pressure on these clothing brands to respond appropriately to this disaster by properly compensating its victims and their families, by signing agreements that they’d been reluctant to sign before, and by putting into place more comprehensive auditing practices so that what they agree to is more likely to be done in the future.

This pressure continues to be applied, and companies are responding. On Monday, for example, the BBC reported that Primark had released a statement saying that it ‘accepts all its responsibilities in this disaster’ (Source: BBC 2013 link). ALL of them. We shall see.

This is not a single documentary with a named director, whose work can be ‘discredited’ with the right PR and legal teams in place. This is ‘Primark on the rack 2013’. Click the photos to get to the whole 6 scene set.

Postscript: why Lego?

We’ve been inspired by Lego re-creations that we found online of hidden scenes from the ‘War on Terror’. They had been made and posted online in 2009 by an artist/blogger called Legofesto (see her flickr sets here). She argued that:

‘By using toys, I hope the viewer will linger longer over the image and think again about what is actually being depicted or described, in a visual language that is recognised by us all: LEGO. … The incongruity between the immoral and horrific acts and events depicted and the smiley-faced children’s toy create a tension’ (legofesto in Time Magazine 2009 link).

By photographing re-creations and publishing them online, she argues:

‘I want to keep the debate going. To keep it in people’s minds, to remind us of our atrocities because the media has moved on and they don’t want to dwell on the tactics [of the ‘War on Terror’]. … People are using Legofesto to talk about torture and state violence’ (legofesto in Carling 2009 link).

We want our Lego re-creations to help keep trade (in)justice debates going, to keep them in people’s minds, etc. in a similar way.

Celebrating the patenting of Lego

Yes. A story appeared in Gizmodo today saying that, 55 years ago, Lego bricks were first patented. We are interested not only in their origins, but also in their powers…

For the most part, Lego is one of the great levelers in the toy world: kids love it, adults get excited about it, and you can build practically anything you like out of it. While most wholesome family fun turns out boring or desperate, Lego transcends age and gender and makes everyone want to play.

Here at followthethings.com, we use Lego for our own means,re-creating scenes from ‘follow the things’ examples showcased on our site, posting them on Flickr and hoping that they will generate interest in our site. See a sample from our Flickr set in the right hand column of our blog.

What the Gizmodo article includes is one of Lego’s earliest commercials, in German, illustrating its playful, leveling effects… Enjoy!