I believe in being happy knowing all of the facts. Well, after experiencing intense global travel and being on the inside of the fashion world I knew I would no longer be happy working within Urban INC, the company owning Anthropology, Free People and Urban Outfitters.
I wrote the post below about two years ago. It is crazy to think how naive I was on my company’s morals. It is crazy to imagine myself working so hard to obtain a job with a company whose production process I knew nothing about. It is crazy that I did not know nor care more about where my paycheck directly came from. And it is insane that I looked up to them as a major source of inspiration. When many consumers think of Free People they assume good things. Maybe that the company is ethical, or socially responsible because they post photos of forests, deserts and seas. These associations are due to the social media representation of the brand. Sadly these assumptions are not the reality. On the main Instagram account the bio reads,
“The Free People woman lives free through fashion, art, music, travel, and everything in between.”
Lives through fashion, at the cost of inhumane labor and unimaginable poverty. Lives through art, stealing country’s spiritual tribal designs turning them into 8 dollar Christmas ornaments that have to be destroyed and throw away due to unspoken legal issues. Lives through music, the same set playlist that rings on repeat in every store location. One continuous strand of tunes every shift, stuck as a broken record, leaving the employees no control of their background noise. Lives through travel, carelessly visiting every country around the sun, skipping out on the mass production factory tours, absorbing rays over culture. Traveling to appreciate the outdoors, while being one the biggest contributing factors to global pollution without a care in the world of preserving this place they use to take photos in. Every single product inside of each shipment I unpacked was individually wrapped in plastic. Every. Single. Item. Everything in between like buying organic beauty products and loving dogs, while agreeing (or living in oblivion) to some of the most wasteful production techniques and supporting animal cruelty in the industry by selling heaps of real leather.
Everyone was shocked when they found out I quit. I was too really. I always thought everything about this brand fit me so well, crying of happiness when I listened to the voicemail of my old boss offering me a job. The vibes, the lifestyle, the animal loving, adventurous souls, and hippie free spirits. I was one of their biggest supporters. Everything changes when you become aware. Once I opened my eyes, once I actually started listening, I saw what the company was truly capable of. It is disgusting how much money clouds…well, everything. It’s heartbreaking really. I felt defeated near the end of employment under Urban INC. After I returned from India I could no longer support buying convenient fast fashion clothing, and that meant working for one that supported it as well. The brand name is entirely misfitting as no one is free within this blurry lined company.
“I love style that encompasses movement. Clothes that sway and allow space for dancing. Free People, the company I am so beyond happy to be working for, became my favorite clothing line the second I stepped into the store for the first time. Simple slips and dresses from this brand are created to be thrown on for any occassion, whether you are hitting the beach or adding tights to run and play in the rain.
These Free People slips are my go-to because they are so versatile. They can be worn during any season by switching up what you pair along with them. My entire wardrobe basically goes together because 80 % is made up of these beautiful materials. Which brings me to loving what I do….I am so lucky to say I am happy to be working at my favorite store. I work at a place where I can dress as if I’m headed to a music festival or playing on the beach. Where tattoos are shown off as an artistic and unique form of expression instead of a permanent mark to hide. The store lucked out as well…turns out selling my favorite clothes comes pretty naturally.
Perseverance is the key to how I landed these paychecks (or lack there of considering I make zero income due to my dangerous discount). I brought in my application three times without hearing back then decided to create a modge podge photo collage made of catalogue models with inspirational words torn from different magazines that stood out to me when thinking of what Free People stands for. My boss once told me I received the job with zero experience in retail because of the clear desire I had to work for the company. She knew how much I wanted the position based on the effort I put in to be noticed, to stand out amongst the other applicants. Reason 4,582 I love crafting..
PHOTOGRAPHY: HALEY GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY
BRANDS: FREE PEOPLE, URBAN OUTFITTERS