Today, I did something that most would consider a waste of time… probably because it might be. But, I had to try because I’ve been thinking a lot about Philippians 2:3-4 which says, “look not just to your own interests but also to the interests of others.” I love clothes as much as the next girl, but wearing something cute is not worth it at the expense of millions on the other side of the world. Below you’ll find my letter to Mr. Peck, the CEO of Gap. My desire was to speak the truth in love. I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not to share it here on my blog. I guess I hope somehow voices might be multiplied and lives could really be impacted for the better.
My name is Katie, I’m 26 and from a small town in Minnesota. I would love for this letter to get to Mr. Peck, but realize he is super busy. So, even if this letter gets no where – I felt I had to at least try.
About a month ago, I saw John Oliver’s segment Last Week Tonight about today’s fashion and specifically how sweatshops and child labor are still dangerously occurring. I have always been concerned about this issue, but have honestly not been sure what I could do. I was especially disappointed to see Gap and your other clothing lines mentioned because I really appreciate your brand’s style and affordability.
I have done some quick research into your company and see that your website says that you are committed to “doing more” through your “Let’s do more” campaign. I think that’s awesome. I appreciate your dedication to sustainability and desire “to make a positive, lasting impact on the people and in the places where we operate.” And although it can’t be an easy task to make sure your employees and factory workers are safe at every level of your company, I hope you’ll do the hard work to make sure it happens. I hope you’ll do more than just “looking deeper” into your supply chain. I hope you’ll be dedicated to creating a supply chain that ensures a responsible path.
As one of the largest companies in the world you have an incredible amount of resources at your disposal and an incredible amount of power. I, on the other hand, am simply a missionary to teens in Minnesota. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have resources, I do and I hope to steward them wisely. I just know that my reach is limited. However, your reach is global. That’s amazing. I hope you’ll use your resources in a way that other businesses might consider foolish – making people, not profits your first priority. I know you are a business so that will be super difficult, but rarely, are the things that are right also easy. I’m beginning to see that it’s even more rare for the difficult things to actually happen. It’s easy to have a company policy that sounds good, it’s much harder to make sure it’s put into practice continually.
But, I guess I’m writing this email because I believe it can be done. I believe Gap could be the one to do it. Can you imagine the ripple effect that could come from your company looking out for the people – most likely women and children in Indonesia? (- which is where the Gap dress I’m currently wearing was made.) You guys could set the standard and be the change that changes everything.
I really do love your clothes, as I said, I’m wearing a Gap dress right now. But, I don’t feel like I can shop there any longer. I would literally have nothing to wear if I threw away all my Gap/Old Navy/ and other clothes made potentially in sweatshops. I’m not sure where I’ll be able to buy clothes that aren’t created in a sweatshop from now on, but I am committed to finding those stores. I hope that it will soon be Gap or Old Navy.