Modalu handbags have had a sudden surge in popularity lately, even though, due to the below, Pippa Middleton no longer carries one.
I love the handbag – the bigger version and the two zips really make it a style right up my alley. Unfortunately the conditions under which they are produced make them something I will not carry.
I often read the Daily Mail Online because they tend to get news out to the rest of the world first. It may be badly written and for a certain audience that (to put it mildly) may not quite be me, but for some reason they are really quick off the ball. I think they get the news and throw it onto the web without any sub-editing or in-depth analysis because they want to get the news out fast.
Their articles often make good discussion topics for my students too because their point of view is often extremely provocative and the language is fairly easy to understand for non-native speakers. I actually use many of their articles as proofreading practice for my students – they have to find all the factual, grammatical and spelling errors within a set time limit. Despite the fact that my students are non-native speakers, they usually manage!
However, the article below was better written and researched than usual. A little biased against Pippa maybe but whichever way you look at it, Modalu do not come out so well. My questions going into this are:
Will Pippa will stop using them?
Will Modalu comment on this?
I wonder how Primark’s clothes are manufactured – are the workers paid less than the Modalu ones because it is Primark or paid more because of good employment agreements? When H and M got into similar hot water they blamed subcontractors for subcontracting the work out even further to make money. Are workers allowed to unionise?
Here is the Modalu site – they really market themselves as a high-end brand. You wouldn’t think that the workers who produce these £200 bags are being paid £1.30 a day. I love these bags and I was about to buy one when I read this article. Somehow now I just can’t. I am 100% sure other things I own were produced under worse conditions so this probably makes me a hypocrite of note. But Modalu went down in my estimation after reading that article and doing some fact-checking on my own.
A year later and it seems that things have not changed much. I did some research on my own on this and while they are definitely NOT sweatshops and there is probably no child labour, the workers are paid a pittance while Modalu charges heavy prices for their wares. Naturally, wages are lower in India, but nothing excuses paying workers just over £1 a day to make a handbag that you charge your customers hundreds of pounds for.
I realize that you cannot pay certain workers about twenty times the going wage in a country. Then again, moving this production away from India to a country where workers are generally paid better would mean these people have NO jobs at all.
To avoid myself being tortured by thoughts like these, a Pippa is not in my future. I cannot even admire them when other people have them. And when I do look at them and wonder how the person who made it lives and if they have enough food to eat or enough money for a doctor for their children, then I start imagining how all my other handbags were produced. And my head just cannot take things like that.