Christy Sobolik | Week 16

 

Hello again.  Last week, I promised you stories about Hollywood.  So without further ado, I’ll get to it.

 

Let me first say, the Hollywood trip was one of the most bizarre and surreal experiences of my life.  And I knew it would be, so that didn’t come as a surprise.  I decided to go to this thing precisely because I knew just how outside of my box it was, and that I would likely never have this kind of opportunity again.

 

Some backstory first, because I’m not sure if I’ve given it: AllSaints is a major European fashion brand, which is just starting to make an appearance stateside (I had not heard of it before the NFS partnership, though given my general lack of fashion savvy, that’s not too incredibly odd).  They have formed a partnership with Not For Sale in which they are 1.) designing a whole line of products that benefit Not For Sale and 2.) committing to use Free2Work guidelines to really dissect their CSR codes and supply chain, to try to make sure they are doing everything in their power to eradicate forced labor in their supply chains.  I think Number 1 is great, but that Number 2 is even greater.  It’s very complicated to apply these sorts of procedures to a company’s CSR codes, but also very important.  The fact that a brand as big as AllSaints is committing to make the effort to figure it out will put pressure on other brands to do the same.  Ideally, enough brands will do this that a Free2Work A grade will become the norm, and not the exception.  It will of course be a long time before this ideal goal is reached, but I think the participation of major brands like AllSaints is a huge step towards making that goal a reality.

 

So anyway, the Hollywood event was basically a big party to launch the Not For Sale line in the United States.  It was held at a club/concert venue called The Music Box, right on Hollywood Boulevard.  It was a beautiful building, like an old Victorian theatre turned rock music stage.  The event began with some general mingling and socializing.  I felt very out of place, in the midst of all these trendy Hollywood socialites, so I generally took the wallflower approach.  Dave gave a couple talks, and they showed the video about the AllSaints/NFS partnership (which you can watch here: www.vimeo.com/29299670).  Then Black Rebel Motorcycle Club played for a bit, and then people danced.  I did not partake in the dancing, but I made myself stay until midnight (yes, this was hard for me.  I am an old lady), at which point I walked back to our hotel and fell into bed.

 

The audience at the Hollywood launch party was clearly a different crowd from the audience at the Global Forum.  At the latter, when Dave talked, the whole audience listened with rapt attention.  They were activists, and they came to hear wisdom about how to change the world.  At the former, Dave’s speeches were short and pep-talky.  The party was the main event here.

 

That said, though, it was really great to see a different sort of crowd get excited about what he had to say.  The people at the Hollywood event might not be the sort to devote their lives to abolitionism, or spend great amounts of time volunteering with their local survivors shelter.  But could get behind the mission and the message of the AllSaints Not For Sale line.  We just had to find a way to make it accessible to them, and they were ready to support the partnership.  I think it just goes to show that people want to be a part of something noble and something bigger than them.  And even though not everyone is willing to make that mission their whole lives, if you can show them a way to incorporate into what they already do (everybody shops), they will do it (you know, if you build it, they will come).  So when it comes to changing culture, it’s the work of those who want to make abolitionism their life’s work to find ways to reach out to the rest of our culture.  The trick is finding a way to reach them with that message, but still give them something they can do that is actually effective (putting a “Stop Human Trafficking” bumper sticker on your car is a nice start, but it’s not enough).   I think things like the AllSaints partnership and the Free2Work app fulfill that goal, because these are the tools that can create a force of consumer advocates who, by “voting with their dollars,” can tell major corporations that they value the dignity of human life.

 

All for now!

 

Christy

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