Fashion giants Ralph Lauren, Forever 21, Michael Kors, & others have been linked to major deforestation & human and labor rights violations and it's about time we stand up for justice. In this post, we are going to spill the details and give you 5 ways to take action!

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Last time we talked about deforestation, it was in the context of the Deadly Truth About Palm Oil, and how this was leading to the violent deaths of tens of thousands of endangered orangutans (warning, graphic image).
Deforestation is also highly entangled with the issue of human rights abuses: in many cases the government is pushing already marginalized communities off their lands, usually with the use of force or violence. Not to mention that this whole fiasco contributes to climate change and the expediency of the extinction of several endangered species.

And last Monday, Ralph Lauren in particular was singled out at a major fashion event in New York City, where activists from the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) held a protest.

Senior Campaigner at the RAN, Brihannala Morgan, says:
 “Ralph Lauren is being singled out because as a luxury fashion brand of its scale, they are a leader in the industry, and the company needs to step up. Ralph Lauren uses a huge volume of forest fabrics in its clothing lines, and without a strong policy in place, it can not guarantee that its fabrics are not driving deforestation and negatively affecting the livelihoods of communities on the ground.
“There are some brands that are taking action on this issue, like H&M and Stella McCartney, but Ralph Lauren isn’t one of them. As one of the biggest fashion brands in the world, Ralph Lauren has the ability and resources to ensure that human rights abuses and forest destruction won’t be a part of their next collection.” 


The corporations:
  • Abercrombie and Fitch
  • Guess
  • Forever 21
  • Velvet
  • Limited Brands (Victoria's Secret, The Limited, etc)
  • Under Armour
  • Foot Locker
  • Gaiam
  • Beyond Yoga
  • Prada Group (Prada, Miu Miu, etc)
  • Vince
  • Tory Burch
  • Michael Kors
  • Ralph Lauren
  • LVMH (Dior, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, etc)
*cough* *cough* I haven't finished with all of the detailed brand profiles from the Boycott List, but don't you see quite a bit of overlap ours and this one provided by RAN?

The destroyed:
The endangered forests of...
  • Indonesia
  • Canada
  • Brazil
  • & other countries around the world


The time to stand up and take action is now

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Soviet campaign poster against deforestation / Source

1. Boycott | here at JooJoo Azad, we (the blog & I) are pretty big proponents of boycotts. Simply put, the power is in the money, and the money is in our hands. (we've talked about this, remember?) Make a commitment not to purchase from these brands until they have committed to production methods that are not destructive to the world and the people within it.

2. Join the campaign | our friends over at Out of Fashion, a RAN campaign, are inviting you to join their campaign demanding change & committing to becoming "all in to protect the forests!"

3. Make an important lifestyle changes | along with boycotts, we encourage a transition to a Minimal Wardrobe, meaning a wardrobe not that is stylistically black and white and grey like the skies of Chicago, but rather one that is physically minimal and less rooted in keeping up with the infinite seasons/trends of fashion. We're also hoping to launch a monthly ethical living challenge newsletter, so you should also get on that...once we do..and finally launch it. #ughfinals

4. Learn more | the Rainforest Action Network has several great resources to further our understanding of the situation, that are definitely worth the read! In particular, I recommend The Human Cost of Forest Fabric!

5. Educate | knowledge is made for sharing. Especially when it involves large, heavily omni-present industries/corporations and little public transparency. Share this post on Twitter or Facebook or Pintrest (added bonus--we instantly become bffs...actually I think my friends might disagree that this is a "bonus" than a punishment, but, details...) or if you're not ready for a new friend commitment (I'm low maintenance, I promise!), talk about this issue with people who already have the honor of calling you their friend/family. Make a commitment to have 5 conversations this next week about ethical fashion/deforestation. Awareness is key!


P.S. If you are in the activist-y mood (the best mood to be in), also be sure to check out all of the noise my university's Students for Health Equity (SHE) campaign is making about pressuring the university to open an adult level trauma center. Nine students yesterday were forcibly removed from an administrative building and arrested. Listen to what they have to say