Posts Tagged ‘brand’

There are plenty of reasons for concerned citizens to be wary of companies like Monsanto and Koch Industries. Between pollution, public deception, and political manipulation, these are corporations that have permeated our society with their GMO’s, chemicals, and corrupt policies. As consumers, we tend to believe that we can at least choose not to purchase the goods they are peddling. However, identifying the makers behind popular foods and cleaning supplies are nearly impossible at the grocery store without having to do a multi-hour internet search beforehand.

Instead of lugging around your own compendium of brands to avoid, you can turn to a much more manageable smartphone app called, “Buycott“. Invented by 26-year-old Ivan Pardo, the program scans the barcode of a product, determines its manufacturer, and cross-checks the item against campaigns you have joined to see if it conflicts with your principles. The campaigns you can join either choose to avoid or promote certain goods or causes. The application already has a large database, but users can contribute information for those items that Buycott does not recognize.

So far, Buycott has experienced a rush of new users, speaking to the concerns of communities across the nation. Although these businesses are massive and influential, this may be the first grassroots step in the effort to topple their hegemony.

Fashion is a strange and fickle animal.   Styles come and go, value and craftsmanship vary across brands, and artistic taste travels alongside industry and business.  Major names and style houses tend to dominate the landscape and many cases reach across global markets.  In the shoe industry, sweatshop work conditions, social and environmental exploitation, and outsourcing of labor have become the accepted practice of footwear giants such as Nike and Adidas. Thankfully, there are alternatives for those who want to stand up to the culture of rampant consumerism and still sport a quality pair of kicks.

Blackspot Shoes from Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters lets you have some pride in your stride.  Created by the popular magazine, the brand is open-source and can be used by anyone, free of charge and copyright laws.  The shoes themselves are made of hemp, vegan leather, recycled tires, and produced in fair-trade factories.  Blackspot come in either a classic sneaker or boot design, created by John Fluevog and hand-painted with a large spot.  They are compliant with vegan standards and are monitored by Robin Webb of Vegetarian Shoes in the UK. Each pair is part of limited or small runs, ensuring quality and integrity.

Currently, all Blackspot shoes are fabricated in Addah, Pakistan by Talon Sports where workers receive an eight hour day with fair pay, overtime, vacation, breaks for lunch and prayer, sick leave, and opportunities to advance within the company.  Talon is governed by an elected body that offers micro loans and medical services.  Fifteen percent of the price of Blackspot shoes go to a fund dedicated to improving the living conditions of the workers and their families.

Blackpots are available online, or at a number of independent retailers worldwide in order to bypass industry conglomerates and foster a network of grassroots businesses committed to sustainability.

 

X