Yes, Even Christmas Gifts Have a Circle of Life

An AP reporter searching the Bangladeshi factory where more than a hundred people died in a fire over the weekend found shorts from Wal-Mart’s Faded Glory brand…as well as Sean Combs’s ENYCE line. They also found books listing Wal-Mart, Disney, and Sears as buyers, plus cartons of children’s hoodies marked “Disney Pixar.” Other reports say garments with C&A, Dickies, Fashion Basics, and Infinity Woman labels were found amid the ash. Adjust your Christmas shopping accordingly.

--Kat Steoffel, The Cut /


Ironically enough since Disney's mentioned in the quote above: I've been thinking a lot about the circle of life lately. Surely farmers' markets (and brick and mortar stores like Whole Foods) in communities throughout the USA thrive because shoppers care deeply about the circle of life as it relates to the foods they and their families eat. How were they grown? Were harmful chemicals used? What about genetically modified foods? Are they safe? We want to know that the food we ingest will nourish, not harm us (which is why the World Trade Organization's ruling that Country of Origin Labels be removed from imported products is unbelievable and horrifying).

But how to make the leap from caring deeply about the foods we ingest to caring as passionately about all the products we "consume"? Don't they, too, have life cycles? The clothes on our backs, the shoes on our feet, the laptops at our fingertips, the cars we drive: doesn't it matter that we know how these products were made, what materials were used, and whether they were produced in a humane way?

Consider the recent fire at the Tazreen Fashions Ltd. factory in Bangladesh that killed 112 workers. Would you want to buy from the brands mentioned in the quote at the top of this post knowing their products may have been made in an unsafe factory, sewn by full-time workers of dubious age who were paid $37 a month? Consider, too, the dozens of suicides over the years committed by Foxconn workers in Shenzhen, China. Millions of computers and iPhones and electronic gadgetry are made at Foxconn's Chinese factories by underpaid, overworked workers for Apple and other American companies to import and sell to us.

Yes, sad to say, all products--edible or not--have a circle of life. We should pay attention to the stories behind them and, when possible, choose wisely. And so as we move on to Day Six of CAMJ's Twelve Days of Christmas, I'd like to suggest All American Clothing. No circle of life worries here. These products are 100% Made in the USA. What a relief!

I last wrote about All American Clothing (including an interview with founder and CEO Lawson Nickol) in 2011. At the time, I'd ordered a few things for Don but hadn't yet received the items. Fast forward to the present day: Don's affordable jeans from All American Clothing are, hands-down, his favorites, replacing the China-made Levi's we used to pick up at Costco. He also gives two thumbs up to All American Clothings' t-shirts and golfwear. I give two thumbs-up to the company's philosophy. From the website:

Our mission is to support USA families and jobs by producing high-quality clothing in the USA at an affordable price. By keeping our production in the USA we provide jobs and a tax base that supports our communities.

We care about our country and the people in it; if we were only in it for money we would move our production overseas. We will NOT trade USA jobs for foreign profits...

Wow. Now that's what I call the Circle of Life. Cue the "Lion King" music, and head on over to Spread a little All American Christmas cheer.