Do fake clothes really exist?
I saw a headline in a paper the other day claiming that the police had destroyed £3million of ‘fake’ clothes. I think that headline says quite a lot really. First, the people we’re supposed to believe are here to make our lives safer are shown working with corporations to defend the atrocious prices people must pay for clothes. The other thing I think it says is that what matters about clothes, what makes them real, isn’t that they keep us warm and protect our modesty, but that they display a genuine brand name.
The headline actually made me seethe with rage, hence my desire to blog about it several days later. So what if people are copying designs and stuff? Its not actually hurting anyone. Sure, designers may be making less money, but they’re not going to end up sleeping on the streets as a result of this? They don’t have an exclusive right to receive money from us when our clothes wear out.
The police aren’t protecting the poor, at least not in this example. These clothes may well have been made in sweatshops, but so would the ‘real’ clothes (which is just a stupid phrase, because all clothes are real, surely! Unless they’ve been made for an emperor in a kids tale). When the police could have been chasing people who are actually making people’s lives hell, like rapists, murderers, etc. instead they’re out ensuring a bunch of rich people can get richer. There’s got to be worse crimes to chase.
So yes, I think its time people stopped thinking that the police are there to protect us, and stories like this can go a long way to providing evidence of their importance in maintaining injustices. I’m sure Isaiah would be equally pissed off with them as he would with most every Western politician in power today (and most of the non-Western ones too). And I think we really need to do some self evaluating: are our clothes a means to an end of staying warm, or just signs of our wealth and our inclusion in the exclusive club of the wealthy.