It's Labor Day in the United States, and if you like shopping as much as we do, it's easy to get caught up in your inbox full of deals and coupon codes. But we should also take time to consider the historical reason we have this holiday, and news flash: it isn't so everyone can go shopping.
Labor Day in the U.S.—A Brief History
This article from Newsweek by Conor Gaffey summarizes the history of the holiday:
"The [Labor Day] holiday evolved out of decades of tensions between workers and unions on one side, and state security forces and employers on the other. During the last two decades of the 1800s, workers carried out some 37,000 strikes in the United States; and between 1870 and 1914, up to 800 American workers were killed during strikes, almost entirely by state security forces or the military.
The tensions culminated in the Pullman strike, during which workers for railcar manufacturers the Pullman Company in Chicago went on strike after their wages were cut by almost 30 percent, but the rents and prices at company-owned accommodation and stores remained static."
According to this Washington Post article,
"Historians, encyclopedias and news articles pinpoint Cleveland’s actions during the Pullman Strike as his reason for rushing the Labor Day Act through Congress that June. People were dead on the streets of Chicago, and the creation of a holiday would help make up for it."
Isn't it Ironic, Don't You Think?
Having learned a bit of the history, there are a lot of ironies we can uncover about Labor Day and the fashion industry.
- Many fashion retailers in the United States are open on Labor Day, which means many Americans who work in retail are not enjoying the holiday. Why do fashion retailers consider themselves exempt from this holiday that was specifically created to recognize U.S. workers rights?
- Many of the biggest sales we'll encounter today are likely from retailers that do not actually invest in safe labor conditions for their workers. So the fact that Americans can enjoy purchasing a $4 shirt on Labor Day is bitterly ironic when you realize that shirt may have been sewn by someone overworked in unsafe working conditions, in a community halfway around the world.
Hope in the Chaos
All of that said, there are some companies who do care about safe labor and a fair wage for employees. One of these is PACT Organic.
If you're in need of some basics like cotton tees, undies or dresses, you may want to consider PACT Organic this Labor Day. Both Colleen and I have tried their products and recommend this company for the following reasons:
- Their Workers Receive Fair Wages & Safe Working Conditions. On Labor Day, why not support a company that is Fair Trade Certified, sweatshop free and that offers clothing that is ethically produced. According to PACT, "Robots don't make your clothes, people do." You can easily read more about their factories on their website.
- They're a GOTS-Certified Company & Use Organic Cotton. GOTS-certified means their products have been certified to contain a minimum of 70% organic fibers. They believe that by using organic cotton they are making the world a better place. According to PACT, "No toxic chemicals are used in the growing of organic cotton. It doesn’t damage the soil, has less impact on the air, and uses 71% less water and 62% less energy than conventional cotton." Learn more on their website.
- Free Shipping & Free Returns. Comes standard on all orders - huge bonus for us, and shows they care about their customers.
I especially recommend the Women's Relaxed Fit Tee. As one of those people who wears the tech company uniform, I sport a lot of t-shirts, jeans and sneakers to work. This is one of my go-to tees because of both the feminine cut and length. With the shorter cut at the sides and the longer front and back, it covers me in the right places. I feel comfortable and stylish even while wearing a basic tee.
Shelf Bra Camisole (Tank)
Colleen has been able to wear these without a bra on travel days to be more comfortable on long plane rides as they are fitted with good support. She said would even wear them for light yoga.
We also enjoy PACT underwear, such as the Women's Low Rise Bikini and the Women's Lace Waist Thong. The fit is right and there is a feel-good factor of knowing the fabric against our skin is made with organic cotton. Note: All Women's undies are on sale today.
Women, Men & Kids
Just a note—PACT Organic is not just for women. Although we have only tried the women's products, they also offer products for men & kids.
The Sale & Extra 20% Off
Today's Labor Day Sale at PACT Organic includes site-wide savings on various items throughout the site. Use this link to receive an extra 20% off at checkout.
If you choose to shop other retailers this Labor Day, why not take a bit of time to look into their labor philosophies and practices. If they don't explain their practices on their website, you may want to reach out to them to ask for details before committing to that purchase.
Do you wear organic cotton and/or Fair Trade Certified tees & undies? What are some of your favorite ethical shopping brands?