Mrs.Obama wore a sleeveless cocktail dress, patterned in taupe, pink and green, accented with a long string of pearls and pearl earrings. She wore a pair of pink patent leather heels and style her hair in a fluffy ponytail.
Mrs. SBY was seated next to Mrs.Obama at the dinner hosted yesterday for G20 spouses, but the report doesn't say whether she was dressed as an ibu in the Indonesian formal style of heavily laquered hair and corsetted clothes as she is in the picture on the left. For some reason the series of formal and informal photos in the Guardian don't include Indonesia's representatives on the world stage.
Still, no matter as I'm not one of those style gurus who has to note every detail of someone else's clobber. Mind you, I did have to to check the meaning of taupe - if you're interested, it's the colour of moleskin, a greyish brown. . I have one of those frames which aren't catered for by mass-production clothing companies. When I lived in London I would occasionally buy jackets from a chain of shops called High and Mighty, a name which friends thought, satirically I hope, suited me well. I would also frequent jumble (rummage) sales so for a while, in winter, I wore a Czechoslovakian army greatcoat which reached my ankles and occasionally served as a blanket.
I also once found an old RAF (air force) jacket which fitted perfectly although maybe I should have unstitched the ranking stripes on the sleeves. One day on a train in North Wales which passed an RAF camp I found myself to be the highest ranking officer on board.
This is unlikely to happen here in Jakarta. I don't have a uniform and I can rarely find anything that fits. Even triple XXL shirts are too short in the sleeves so I generally stock up on casual shirts when I go to Bali because they're used to Aussie visitors. For work purposes, a number of back street tailors near Jakartass Towers have my measurements and supply my needs quite well, but I do have a perennial problem with shoes.
Strangely, I can find shoes my size easier in Singapore. What is really strange is that they're generally made in Indonesia, possibly by Nike who have sweat shops in Tangerang.
In 1997, Jim Keady, a soccer coach at St. John’s University, said no to taking part in a $3.5 million dollar deal to endorse Nike products because of Nike’s use of sweatshop labor. He was forced out of his job and outcast from the coaching ranks. People told him that he didn’t know what he was talking about, that work in a Nike factory was a “great job for those people.”
In the summer of 2000, he went to find out for himself. To gain a more human perspective on the lives of Nike’s factory workers, Keady and a friend lived for one month in an Indonesian slum on the wages that workers are paid - $1.25 a day. In the process, they encountered the local mafia, intimidation, starvation, football-sized rats, fist-sized cockroaches, raw sewage in the streets, massive burning of toxic shoe rubber, corporate complicity and cover-up.
They discovered the reality of U.S. multinational corporations' labor practices in the developing world and how Nike's cutthroat, bottom-line economic decisions have a profound effect on human lives.
And they've now made a documentary, SWEAT, which includes interviews with Indonesian workers producing for Nike, Adidas, and the Gap, and former Indonesian President, Abdurrahman Wahid.
This being a hotter country than most, I wear a T-shirt around the house. I used to buy them in Bali for the reason stated above but now there is a source closer to home - in Pasar Senen to be precise. They are really good quality, incredibly cheap at Rp.15,000 (c.$1.5) and, as 'Er Indoors respects my wishes, aren't decorated with advertising.
What I try to understand is why they are made in countries such as El Salvador and Nicaragua from cotton grown in the USA, yet end up half way round the world.
Pietra Rivoli, author of The Travels of a T-Shirt in a Global Economy, who hasn't included the carbon footprint of the global chain which produces them, says that the process enables those at the end of the production line to be "liberated by life in a sweatshop."
That is absolute bullshit and, yes, I do feel guilty about wearing 'the fruit of the loom'. That's why you won't see me wearing one outside Jakartass Towers.
Neither will you find me toting a bag emblazoned with Channel, Louis Vuitton, Dolce Gabbana, Versace, Delia Von Rueti, Nilou, Sabbatha, or Bagteria.
According to Indonesian blogger Akhyari, the last four are Indonesian brand which currently known world wide as luxurious life style items.
The campaign reaches out to fashion and luxury product companies who use paper packaging such as shopping bags that are made of the tree pulp from endangered tropical rainforests in Indonesia. Driven by market demand from the United States, the rapid destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests is causing massive global greenhouse gas emissions, destroying Indigenous communities, threatening unique ecosystems and pushing species like orangutans and Sumatran tigers to extinction.
It's not as if this is new news, but given that it is conspicuous consumption which is the root cause of environmental destruction, any action taken by those who have most to give, but generally don't, is to be applauded, even if it's a mere fashion statement.