December, Christmas, Winterval, Yule and Hanukkah Greetings to you all!
Last year I sent this newsletter out the day before Christmas Eve and surprise, surprise it was very much 'under-read,' so this is my attempt to be more timely and also to bring my own work schedule to an earlier close than usual.
With 'Goblin Mode' being the toast of the town and ice coating the pavements in London, I am looking forward to two weeks of decompressing from a hard year. While we're supposed to be post-pandemic there is still so much going on. Work is disrupted and difficult, especially for creatives. Physically and psychologically many people are still dealing with the impact of Covid and the pandemic years. The difference now, however, is that these issues are generally being swept under the carpet. Mix in all things climate, war and cost-of-living related and things are tough. If you've had a hard year I hope you will be able to take time to relax, reflect and be kind to yourself (if that feels too much, start by being (extra) kind to people, creatures, things and the places around you).
On that note, this newsletter is short and positive. Recommendations of three things I have recently enjoyed reading, followed by Notes On The Profit Margins - one of which is a funded PhD opportunity.
- there are more things by Yara Rodrigues Fowler - I just loved this book. Political, passionate, hopeful. I recommended it here back in the summer, but it has stayed with me throughout the year. It really captures what it is like to be young and trying to change the world, the sacrifices made to fight dictators, plus the realities of house-shares in London, first love, and human connections across the decades.
- The beauty industry is a climate disaster - this interview had a profound effect on me and actually changed how I live day to day. (Recommended to everyone - even if you don't use beauty products you almost certainly perpetuate beauty standards..!) I then went on to get the Clean book referenced in the article and it is fascinating.
- Telling Stories In Order to Live: On Writing and Money - I like this essay on the tug-of-war of loving writing and needing to earn a living as a writer. The essay was recommended to me in Jane Claire Bradley's free newsletter which I also really love. Jane also has a novel out next year which I have pre-ordered in anticipation that it will be a 2023 fave.
- [If you're hungry for more, there's some great books and podcasts recommended on the Centre For Investigative Journalism's festive reading list.]
NOTES FROM THE PROFIT MARGINS:
These are some of the things I am keeping my eye on in the industry right now.
- Some really massive news - the creation of The Pakistan Accord. A legally binding factory health and safety agreement based on the Bangladesh Accord which was created after the collapse of Rana Plaza. The hope was always that the Accord would spread throughout the garment industry to prevent more fires and collapses so this is a very important step.
- November marked the ten year anniversary of the Tazreen Factory Fire in Bangladesh, which killed 112 people. Some years ago I made this 2 minute photo essay on the fire which you can watch if you want more information on why legally binding safety standards are needed.
- This article on forced labour in Tesco's clothing supply chains.
- This call from the ILO for trade union leader Thet Hnin Aung to be immediately released from a two year sentence of imprisonment and hard labour in Myanmar.
- This in-depth report based on 24 months of research following 200 Cambodian women garment workers as they struggle with the financial and social hardship of the pandemic.
- This 8 minute animation from the Clean Clothes Campaign on the importance of a Living Wage. Interestingly it is based on research with garment workers in Europe.
- This interesting article from the NYT on fashion textile recycling, which ends up being less about the company it starts out profiling, and more about the terrible state of the industry.
- Funded PhD Opportunity! TRAID are a charity that tackle textile waste, run great shops, and do lots of good long-term work supporting garment worker groups. They are working with the Open University to fund a three-year Doctoral position looking at the impact of a TRAID-supported project in Dhaka which has a focus on the children of garment workers. This is a great opportunity for someone who understands gender politics and the garment industry, can be based in London and sometimes in Dhaka, and who has excellent written and spoken Bangla and English. Deadline 11th January 2023. Details here:
Thank you so much for reading. I look forward to writing again in 2023. This month I will continue the midwinter tradition of updating my website. Going for a brand new template, so things may look different next time I write.
In solidarity, Tansy.
p.s. Here is a photo I took last week of a heron in the snow.