Why fashionistas should care about the protests in Hong Kong

Hong Kong last weekMost of the time, fashion and beauty blogs are focused on what’s new, the trends, etc.–but without goods coming into the country, there won’t be any new items on the shelves, trendy or not.  China is one of the biggest suppliers of fast fashion retail than any other country.  Just look at the labels on the clothes you buy from Zara, or H&M or Forever 21 or any other fast fashion store and you’ll notice that if not all, at least part of the garment was Made in China.  China accounts for a huge portion of sales for a number of reatailers, too (just so you know that what we do in the U.S. is only a portion of the sales of most retailers that occupy out malls.  They are, actually, international companies….)\r\n\r\nFor the past week or so there have been major political protests in Hong Kong, calling for democratic elections in the province. The protests disrupted sales of both luxury and fast fashion items for Golden Week .  Think of Golden Week as our Christmas season and how you feel when you want to purchase an item and you’re told it’s unavailable, with no way to know when it might be restocked.\r\n\r\nNow you get the picture.\r\n\r\nHowever, you might be wondering why there have been protests in Hong Kong anyway.  Here’s a simple explanation:  Hong Kong used to be a British colony.  On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was turned over to Chinese rule–and yes, China is a Communist country.  However, the idea of Communism, and what Communism stands for has changed since tons and tons of companies have opened factories there since China has Favored Nation status in the U.S.\r\n\r\nIf you ever wondered why Ronald Reagan’s and George Bush’s “trickle down economics” didn’t trickle down over here the way it was supposed to, you might want to consider that the “trickle” of jobs got diverted to China, where they could pay garment industry workers a whole lot less and NOT have the same kind of government scrutiny they’d have over here.\r\n\r\nSure, there’s a lot more to it in the way of trade agreements and other policies that favor China, but that’s really the bottom line. SO, what goes on in China and how China handles these demands for change coming from Hong Kong makes a different NOT just to the people in Hong Kong, but to us, too…..because we benefit from things going smoothly in China just the way the Chinese benefit.\r\n\r\nHere’s what the protesters are asking for (in simple terms):  they want to be able to chose their provinces’ representatives in Beijing by democratic elections.  Oh, yeah, they have elections, but all the candidates are approved of by councils in Beijing!  That’s like our President telling us, “ok, you can vote for Joe Blough because he’s a member of The Party and we think he’s the right guy for you.”  Which, essentially means you don’t even have to go to the polls and vote because you’ve already been told who’s going to represent your province.\r\n\r\nYeah, sure, we in the U.S. are not too thrilled with the way our government is handling things, but we do have the right to run for office ourselves, or vote a “bum” out of office and not fear that our government is going to send a couple of guys in dark suits to arrest us.  In fact, someone can run for office, lose, and go back to doing whatever it was he or she was doing, and not suffer any repercussions.  That’s not the case in China, where one can get arrested for opposing the government….\r\n\r\nAnd that’s why things are weird in China when it comes to how the country has grown over the past couple of decades.  A Communist country has benefitted from welcoming certain forms of Capitalism, all the while still keeping the Communist style government when it comes to who gets elected and who doesn’t.  Which is kind of weird if you think about it, because Communism and Capitalism aren’t supposed to exist in the same system….\r\n\r\nBut I digress…\r\n\r\nThe thing is, the people of Hong Kong remember when they had democratic elections.  They want democratic elections again, and are willing to disrupt trade and industry and even profits for retailers in order to get those democratic elections.\r\n\r\nIt’s pretty darned brave, if you ask me.  And I for one won’t be bitching if I can’t buy this or that item because it hasn’t made it over from China just yet.\r\n\r\nI’d suggest you support them too.\r\n\r\nUPDATE:  Sadly, the Chinese Government is beginning crackdowns on the protesters…..\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *