"Wh-o May-de My Clot-hes" my friend Charles' six-year-old son Baz sounded out beside me as we peered over the rails of a footbridge crossing over Canal Saint Martin at a recycled styrofoam sign Fashion Revolution France was floating in the water below. 

"What does it mean?" Baz asked me expectantly - and I suddenly felt tongue-tied about the one thing I should know most about. His dad jumped in with a direct translation, while my friend Mai did a good job of telling him the basics, but as I went about the rest of the ceremonies and events, the question of how to explain what "Who Made My Clothes" really means to one so young picked at my conscience. 

How do you explain to a child that likely everything he/she is wearing was made by slaves, some children his own age? How do you make them understand the circular stories behind the products in their lives? That farmers are breathing in pesticides which are sprayed onto plants grown to create the fibres for our clothes. Pesticides which cause a hideous array of health hazards to them, their community as these chemicals leak into their soil, waterways and food, poisoning their lands and causing 7 types of cancer, reproductive issues, and endocrine disruption to nearly all who dwell there. How do you share with your kids that children in these communities, where there is little to no health care, are nearly twice as likely to develop brain cancer as a result of this farming? Or that all these risks are the same for the people who work in or live around the factories dye the clothing too, in vats of toxic colours which are then poured into their waterways, making them unusable. 

How do you tell a child that the people sewing our clothing work their whole lives for wages that don't even come close to covering the cost of living, not even the cost of living a super shitty life, and that sometimes those factory workers, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers, sons and daughters work in conditions so unsafe that thousands are killed or brutally injured over the years due to factory collapses like Rana Plaza

Why do we know the most intimate details of the lives of people like the Kardashians, but we don't know where the items covering our naked bodies come from, or the ingredients in our beauty products, or the story behind our food? Why is it that every little thing we do must cause harm to us and the world around us? 

It hasn't always been this way, and it can't remain this way, we can't sustain it. It's Baz's generation which will be the ones to do the saving - and the best thing we can do for them is to enlighten them through education. It is our responsibility as adults to discover and understand what is going on with all that is around us, to ask "Who Made My Clothes" / "Who Grew My Food" / "What Chemicals Are In These Products" and so on .... and adjust the way we buy and the way we live if the true cost in the answers received or discovered is not one to be proud of ... we must connect our children to the stories which dance in the shadows around them, so they might shine light on the future before them ..