Our Fashion Year, an exploration of international women's labor in words and pictures, unravels the threads that weave together fast fashion and human trafficking in a brilliant series of full-color, non-fiction comic strips. What is the connection between the garment industry and the sex industry? What do brothel raids in Cambodia mean for your clothing budget? Why do one-seventh of the world's women work in the apparel sector? Why is sex work so reviled where neoliberal capital has the strongest hold? Why do international apparel companies produce clothing well beyond the means of consumers to purchase them, much less purchase them ethically? And how does the flow of capital particularly disadvantage women, everywhere in the world? Rarely are these questions asked, and never before have they been answered in sassy, smart, full-color images by top comic artists and journalists of today. Our Fashion Year is an original approach to the unique questions that underpin contemporary global culture.
This presentation, by cultural critic and comics creator Anne Elizabeth Moore (the first in Chicago, following a worldwide Ladydrawers tour) will look at the process, form, and impact of the Ladydrawers's work on labor, gender, and compensation through the full spate of Truthout strips from the last year. Following the presentation, a representative from SWOP (Sex Worker Outreach Project), an illustrator, and a labor organizer will connect the issues discussed by Anne Elizabeth Moore to their ongoing efforts to promote worker justice in the Chicago region and beyond.
Delia Jean is an artist, cartoonist, and former food service worker. Her collaborations with the Ladydrawers include the comic strip Being of Service as well as Life and Labor, a workshop exploring emotional labor in the restaurant industry.
Serpent has been a sex worker for more than ten years and is an activist, filmmaker, and sex educator based in the Chicago area. She has been an organizer with Sex Workers Outreach Project–Chicago since its inception in 2007, and is currently part of the team behind Adult Industry Truth (AITResearch) and the Erotic Labor Market Survey (ELMS), which examines responses to human trafficking within the sex trade and erotic labor industries. She regularly conducts trainings and lectures on issues related to sex work and human trafficking at various non-profit organizations and universities in the Midwest.
Holly Kent-Payne is a former member of the warehouse workers organizing committee. In 2012, she was part of a group of workers that went on strike over unfair labor practices and retaliation at the Wal-Mart warehouse in Elwood, IL.