Today I have a polish that truly is the most frustrating I own. And it's not all because of its formula, application and what have you. It also presents me with an ethical dilemma. I speak of American Apparel.
I really dislike American Apparel's advertising and marketing. I find it to be very demeaning and overly sexual. I felt this way long before AA began making nail polish. This ick factor increased thanks to Claudine Ko's feature on AA founder Dov Charney, for Jane magazine in 2004. All the more frustrating, I supported AA's labor practices, that the garments were made in the USA and I agreed with the call for immigration reform. So...this left me conflicted. I wasn't sure if I could shop there or not.
Then, they make nail polish. And I was not yet the picky Lamb when it came to polish because I was newly obsessed. So I decided to give it a shot and ventured into American Apparel's store right next to the University of Oregon campus. I picked up Office because I was obsessed with minty greens. Right about that time is when I read about all of the sexual harassment lawsuits and accusations. Yeah. I stashed my bottle in a dark corner and never messed with it.
Recently, I realized just how many minty greens I own and I remembered Office. I debated on swatching it because I had to be honest about how I feel overall about American Apparel. I decided to go ahead, damn it all.
American Apparel Office
Three coats over base, no top coat
Wow. What a streaky mess. This would not level out no matter what. The color is really lovely but this is just a nightmare to apply. It's runny and sticky and streaky. No me gusta.
So what did I learn from all of this? Clearly I bought a dud. I am still uncomfortable with American Apparel and have decided not to shop there. I have seen swatches of collections they've released since and I liked those jellies but I just could not bring myself to buy any more.
What's especially difficult about trying to make purchases ethically is that you inevitably find yourself in more dilemmas. I always buy t-shirts when I go to concerts because it's just yet another way to support the bands I love. Guess what? Many of these tees are American Apparel. (Because they still do wholesale.) Just like the t-shirt I bought when I saw Social Distortion last spring. So what to do? It's not like the band is colluding with the company or vice versa. And it's not like I'm giving my money directly to AA. But there is that feeling of hypocrisy when you're rolling in a AA tee even if it is emblazoned with the Social D logo and it was purchased from their merch table.
So I have to compromise. And that's why it's so hard to try to make ethical buying decisions. (It's also why I don't support boycotts. The unintentional hypocrisy is rampant and boycotts really don't work.) Not saying you shouldn't, just be aware of any other implications.
Thanks for letting me share my conflict. Lambchop has stepped away from the soapbox.