What was the last thing you lost?
That pen you were gonna take good care of this time?
The 98-something sock?
If you’re a wicked-minded one, this list goes on and on. For some of these, you have even mourned. Your childhood scarf, the bedside book borrowed last summer and never have returned, the best friend’s birthday gift… A Kızılay dolmush or, a cafe in Ulus or, a city line ferry becomes the last place you see these precious things. If you’re a little bit luckier about the place, you’ve scattered your number and give to a security guard or a cashier, saying “Please let me know if you find it.”
If you could not find (if you don’t have the luck of the devil, there is not much hope anyway), you will memorialize it as you see the similar, and when you see it in a photo, you will remember it as an old face you remember. But not every item is lucky enough to been fought for.
Because some “things” are more precious than others.
Many “thing”s cannot rise to that level of preciousness. We’re not talking about those things that drag their stories with them, but about things that come into our house shaking in a shopping bag with their obscure stories. These have a memory like a fish. Neither remembers, nor reminds the stories they hold. They wait in the corner of the wardrobe or in the living room for the moment that they will be chosen to be used among the masses. They can never be one of those “things” that you go back and pick up in your memory, like Hansel and Gretel’s bread crumbs. If it is lucky, it could get into a few frames on your social media account, and that’s it. This is the most that it could expect. Its past is like a vague space stone. It has no story to tell!
Or we think so.
Now, remember the last shirt you’ve bought for yourself. You looked at the cut, the pattern, and you might say “Well thought!”. You ran your fingers through its fabric and said, “The textile is good.” You turned it around a little bit and looked at the stitches and thought, “The craftsmanship is nice.” For a moment you hold the price tag and wondered, “Who knows how much the company gains from it!” The silhouettes of the fabricators, designers and the workers appeared in your mind working assiduously. When you go a little backward, you’ve seen the cotton picked up in the fields, perhaps, a few news that you came across the Internet, appeared in front of your eyes. Probably, you’ll never know how this new piece, that is presented to your wardrobe by the unnamed people of a distant planet, “come into being”. If you can’t tolerate the brand label, you can easily forget which planet it came from.
These planets fade away behind the overlapped labels, endless catalog shoots, showcase decors, inviting lightings, red discount boards. Underneath the shimmering spots, the object gets silent and a label hanging at the end of a piece of plastic speaks for it. A compulsory “Made in …” tag becomes the voice. You know inwardly that the Thailand or India written on the label doesn’t look like the ones that you see at your high school friend’s Instagram, but the alternatives like China or Bangladesh are also as obscure as the other countries for you. Just like every supermarket shopping you do, there is no other option but to ignore the thousands of injustices behind the product you bought.
Behind these labels, the story of each product begins before it meets us and does not always end with a happy ending. Naturally, no one wants to tell such dark stories, so the stories remain silent. Does it?
Still, do not let your mind fall into the darkness, because this article is written by someone who is convinced that happy endings are possible and works heartily to make them happen. In Ankara (yes!), there is a team who believes that fair production is possible, and in this strange galactic order, they go beyond the light years and give producers a voice. As Joon, we bring the hands of local producers together with the transformative power of design. This fusion breeds products that carry their producers’ stories and become the powerful voice of their labor. Yes, there can be happy stories for these “things”, but it is only possible with you.
This first article is an open invitation for change. With the tempting rhythm of Lavarla and the collaboration of Joon’s pen, the series of “There is a Story” will continue with hopeful questions.
Now think about it.
Do you know the story of the products you own?
This article is also available in Turkish. Click here to take a look.