United Students Against Sweatshops Fashion Show

creativeorganizing_nike (The following is a script for a fashion show from the Madison Anti-Sweat Coalition, which was adapted from a script written by students at UC-Berkeley)

(Models strut your stuff! Play loud dance music in background.)

Welcome to the Sweat Gear Fashion Show. Today you’ll be getting the first look at these hot new looks from Nike, Disney and Guess. As well as a special fall preview of our new line of Bucky Badger wear. But first, a few words from our sponsor, the Madison Anti-Sweat Coalition, or MASC.

MASC: The fashion show your are about to see in a joke. The names are made up but the problems are unfortunately very real. The issues surrounding sweatshop labor are sensitive and complex, but they affect us all as consumers. Nearly all clothing we buy is produced in a sweatshop somewhere. Many of the fashions you will see today were taken from our own closets. We are all a part of this issue. Obviously, we are not asking everyone to stop buying clothes, but the depth of this problem does not mean we can ignore it. We are targeting 3 companies today, Nike, Disney and Guess because they are some of the leaders in their industry and leaders in profit. While they may have created important projects that support their local communities, these 3 corporations have disgusting and well-documented track records of abusing workers who sew their clothes. While we support Nikeís scholarships for disadvantaged youth and Disneyís support of gay couples, this does not excuse their mistreatment of workers overseas. It doesnít have to be this way. These companies all possess the means to treat their workers with respect and dignity, as evident from the profit margins. However, until we all, as consumers, push these companies to take responsibility for their actions and stop profiting form abuse, nothing will change. During this back-to-school shopping season, we hop that we can all think before we buy. Thank you for taking the time to listen today, enjoy the show.

CHET: Thank you MASC! Tammy, can you tell us a little about these smashing styles we’ll be seeing today.

TAMMY: Well Chet, like most manufacturers Nike, Disney and Guess produce their clothing in so called sweatshops, where workers, mostly young and female, are subject to horrendous conditions, starvation wages and harsh repercussions if they try to improve their situations.

CHET: Well, anyway, moving on to our first section, we have some stunning leisure wear for you, combining the best in style and comfort!

(Eva struts down runway)

Here comes Eva in some hip hugging Guess jeans and a cozy Nike sweatshirt, warm enough for these cold Wisconsin winters. Check out those phat Nike cross trainers, perfect for a quick walk up Bascom Hall or a morning jog!

TAMMY: Eva looks pretty comfortable, but the women, men and children who work 16 hour shifts in stifling factories without adequate ventilation aren’t quite as relaxed.

(Hans jogs down in slo-mo)

CHET: And oh look, here comes Hans, sporting some fresh new Nikes! These are perfect for shooting hoops in the park, and they retain at only $200! What a bargain to look that hot!

TAMMY: Hans might pay $200 for that look, but it only costs $2.35 for Phil Knight, the CEO of Nike to make those shoes.

CHET: Well, Disney is sure making a hit with this new line of casual clothing.

(Sophia enters, walks very slowly)

Hereís Sophia wearing the latest in cartoon clothing. These are a great hit with the younger members of your family, but no one is too old for their favorite Disney character!

TAMMY: Women in Haiti who work in Disneyís sweatshops there will never be old enough to make what Michael Eisner, the CEO of Disney does. It would take a worker in Haiti 156 years sewing Disney garments to make what Eisner earns in 1 hour.

CHET: These new lines you’re seeing today will be in stores in plenty of time for your holiday shopping!

TAMMY: It’s a pretty busy holiday season in countries like El Salvador too. Every Christmas sweatshop owners there routinely fire their workers to avoid paying a government mandated Christmas bonus, only to rehire them after the holidays.

CHET: All of these clothes are perfect for this season of giving. They make great gifts for those you love.

TAMMY: Michael Eisner loves himself a lot. He gave himself a big present last year – a stock option worth $181 million. I guess his $8.7 million salary isn’t enough.

(Enter Brad, turning from side to side to show backpack.)

CHET: Brad gets double the value of this delightful backpack. It serves a both a useful accessory to students and an adorable Disney character. Great for students of any age, this bag is make of durable material, and looks cute enough to take to bed with you.

TAMMY: Workers in Haiti could have doubled their wages for 16 years had Disney given Eisner’s $181 present to them instead. There’s no issue of a lack of money for raising wages it’s about what the company chooses to do with it.

(Enter Eva, carrying a stack of school books.)

CHET: Eva is wearing all-purpose Guess Jeans, casual comfort great for lounging or going out. Perfect for those long nights of studying. Looks like Eva’s got a lot of homework tonight!

TAMMY: Women n Guess factories do work at home too, but their type of work was banned 50 years ago because it is unsafe and often leads to child labor law abuses. Last year, state labor officials exposed Guess subcontracting to illegal home work sites throughout Southern California. Workers sewed in their houses under isolated, often dangerous conditions for sub minimum wages, no overtime pay, and no benefits.

CHET: Now, moving onto the sportswear section of our show, we have Hans and Mimi wearing the latest in Nike’s athletic ensemble.

(Hans and Mimi run down, one after the other, in slo-mo. Start doing push-ups and jumping jacks.)

CHET: Look at them sweat! I know for a fact Mimi spends at least an hour a day on her stair master to look that good. (sigh) I wish I had her discipline.

TAMMY: Talk about discipline, workers in Nike’s southeast Asian factories sweat for 12 hours a day, through forced overtime to help her look so stylish. Imagine poor Mimi locked in the gym and chained to that stair master from morning ’til night, trying to reach her daily stepping quota, and you get a bitter view of Nike’s “active wear.”

CHET: Boy, I wish they’d lock me in the gym so I could look like Hans here! Hans is wearing a Nike shirt, Nike shorts, Nike shoes, and don’t forget those Nike boxers! From his hat to his shoes, he’s ready to conquer the world! Just do it Hans!

TAMMY: The Nike corporation does conquer the world, in a sense. Their factories are located in the poorest parts of the world. Only 1 percent of Nikes advertising budget could raise the wages of workers in Nike’s 6 Indonesian factories to a livable standard. Just do it, Nike.

CHET: These styles are perfect for all your running around.

TAMMY: You know, Nike doesn’t just make sportswear, they do some running around themselves. Nike wear was originally produced in the U.S., but Nike CEO Phil Knight, who is paid $300 million a year, decided labor costs were too high, and moved Nike production to China.

(banner holders hold up Chinese flags, models jog across state towards them, look cool, do poses)

But workers there tried to organize to improve their starvation wages and inhumane working conditions,

(models lose their cool, freak out)

so Nike moved on to Indonesia, where workers are paid only 29 cents an hour for their labor.

(announcers hold up Indonesian flag/sign, models jog across state to them, look cool again)
workers there are also resisting this oppression,

(models freak out again)

so Nike is now expanding into Vietnam to exploit yet another cheap labor force.

(models jog back to banner holders holding Vietnamese flag/sign, cheering)
Every time workers and consumers have put the pressure on Nike to shape up, they’ve pulled out and runaway, leaving third world economies even more depressed than when they arrived.

CHET: Congratulations Nike, champions of the race to the bottom! When it comes to running away from corporate responsibility, Nike says, just do it!

TAMMY: Nike isn’t the only champion in this race, here come Sophia.

(Sophia jogs out.)

CHET: Disney joined in the action behind this action wear running from Grand Rapids, Michigan. First to the lovely military dictatorship of Burma, under massive public pressure, moving to the picturesque Island of Haiti, and instead of facing up to conditions there, running now to China, where, with less human rights monitoring, workers are paid a whopping 12 cents an hour!

(during monologue, Disney model runs quickly back and forth across stage, ending up by Nike models, who give him high-fives, and they all cheer.)

TAMMY: Now, being fashion conscious here, we all want to be o the cutting edge of style. So, with the latest interpretation of this trend, we have Guess

(Brad jogs out)

taking a big jump across the border, moving 1,000 jobs from Los Angeles, where workers were trying to organize a union, to Mexico, away from all these pesky labor laws.

(Guess model leaps down steps, jogs to Nike/Guess models, all give high-fives.)

CHET: The light fabric and aerodynamic lines of these styles make any activity easy!

TAMMY: Incidentally, NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement makes it easy for corporations to run away from their responsibility and exploit workers quickly and effortlessly.

CHET: But workers around the world keep cramping Nike, Disney and Guess’s style by trying to organize unions. So these companies keep flexing their corporate muscle

(models flex, start to jog in line)

and running to higher and higher profits.

TAMMY: Lower and lower wages.

CHET: Hotter and hotter style!

TAMMY: Now before our next sections, let’s hear a few more words from our sponsor, Madison Anti-Sweatshop Coalition. Take it away MASC!

(repeat of MASC statement from p.1)

CHET: Next up, we have some smashing evening wear for you.

(enter Eva)

Here comes Eva in a lovely evening dress from Guess. Notice the fine stitching, the excellent workmanship, the way the fabric falls softly around her slender legs. Just fabulous!

TAMMY: In fact, Chet, that fine stitching is done by Maquila workers in Mexico, who earn a mere $30 a week. These workers, almost all of whom are women, have extremely high quotas they must fill everyday. When they don’t finish, they take their fine stitching home with them after work.

(enter Mimi)

CHET: But Tammy, look at this stunning gown! Simply perfect for an elegant night out on the town. The light material is beautifully covered up by this lovely coat, also by Guess, of course. Mimi dons this chic, yet sensible ankle length coat make of silk and lined with satin. Warm enough for those cold winter nights in Madison.

(Mimi stays onstage, posing)

TAMMY: Itís quite warm inside the sweatshops, often located in very cramped quarters, such as basements in urban areas like New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. When women leave for their night on the town – a cold walk home to their children, they come home to families that often depend on them as their sole source of income.

(Enter Brad)

CHET: After an elegant dinner, you might want to work some of those calories off with a night of dancing. Brad is sporting Guess boot cut jeans, perfect for the dance floor. Notice the way they hug the hips and fall nicely in the back. Oooh, that loose fit shows off his Guess boxers! Theyíll come in handy later!

(pelvic thrust by Brad, stays on stage across from Mimi)

TAMMY: While Nike may brighten the futures of children in the U.S. with scholarships and awards, they do nothing for the children who work every day to make their products, who often go to work because their parent’s salaries are too low to feed the family.

CHET: Tammy, we’re out here to have fun and you just keep cramping our style. I’ve had about enough of you, and it you must know, I don’t even like your skirt!

TAMMY: Actually Chet, there’s a lot we can do about this. If we boycott Nike, Disney and Guess and they shop up, the whole fashion industry will have to follow. Please try to think before you buy, Chet, or try to think at all!

CHET: Well, that’s about all the time we have for today. Thank you all for coming to check out the latest looks!

TAMMY: And the latest in exploitation.