I start to wonder what other ethical brands are having to make similar gut wrenching decisions...and then I come upon the difference. Most other brands that we consider ethical stand somewhat apart from their makers. Whether this protects their businesses + is wiser or not...the point is that the responsibility is allowed to feel somewhat removed. I want to believe that small, ethical brands do have personal relationships with their suppliers + do feel deeply the connection with the survival of those suppliers. It is undeniably not, however, the same as Elizabeth's intimate connections.
To set the contrast even more starkly, many big brands are cancelling orders + in some cases refusing to pay makers for clothing already sewn...leaving garment factories with no money to pay garment workers for work already done. When connections are allowed to become more + more impersonal + removed, the suffering compounds toward the bottom of the supply chain.
We can throw around the word "sustainable" without a real understanding of limitations. This global pandemic is now a real, palpable, evident limitation...where farmers' + garment workers' working conditions + compensation, resource depletion, soil degradation, pollution, energy consumption, microfiber proliferation, and excessive waste production have somehow remained somewhat hidden.
None of us are immune to this virus or its effects on our health or finances. It is testing the sustainability of big brands + small brands + all of the systems that sustain them. Elizabeth Suzann has allowed all of us to make connections between the clothing we wear + the people who make them. The connection is always there + always has been.
I have no doubt Elizabeth Suzann will flourish again...if + how she wants to flourish. Many of us too will see the other side of this pandemic. We've seen how a virus connects us. Let's live like the flourishing of others is part of our own.
Lovely image via the spectacular, inspiring, tenacious Elizabeth Suzann.