Céire Kealty is a doctoral student in theology at Villanova University, where she studies fashion theory, spirituality, and ethics.

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What Your Clothes Say About You, According to the Bible

by Céire Kealty 05-09-2022

Cartoon clothes flying into a donation box. Image credit: Panther Media GmbH / Alamy via Reuters.

Today, believers can strive to keep their priorities consistent with their dress. Before purchasing a Jesus T-shirt, wearers should consider if the garment was made under safe and fair working conditions. Believers can use their voice to pressure beloved clothing brands to respect the dignity of garment workers, through living wages and good working conditions. Believers can also wear clothes that reflect the dignity of the earth, choosing clothes from eco-conscious brands, or just by buying second-hand.

This Valentine's Day, Fair Trade Chocolate Isn't Enough

by Céire Kealty 02-11-2022

Valentine’s Day gifts are displayed in New York City on Feb. 14, 2021. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

Valentine’s Day is the day of romantic love. If we take our cues from advertisements, it’s an opportunity to purchase and consume flower bouquets, candies, chocolate-covered strawberries, and frilly negligees — gifts we bestow upon our beloveds to show the depths of our love. But many of the gifts we give on Valentine’s Day are made available for our consumption through the exploitation of others; they convey romantic love at the expense of love of neighbor.

Whose Suffering Are You Wearing?

by Céire Kealty 11-17-2021
Going beyond ethical shopping to stand in solidarity with garment workers.
Illustration of the silhouette of a t-shirt with a red tag featuring a human outline

Illustration by Michael George Haddad

OUR CLOTHES BEAR more than our personal style. Stitched into favorite garments is the suffering of those who made them.

From Bangladesh to Vietnam, millions of garment workers are exploited to feed the burgeoning demand for ready-made wardrobes. These workers endure unsafe working conditions and workplace abuse to meet the mounting quotas imposed by hungry clothing brands—all while being paid pennies per hour.

Garment workers’ labor conditions seized the attention of international media in 2013 when the Rana Plaza factory collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing more than 1,100 people. This disaster accelerated the work of human rights organizations such as the Worker Rights Consortium, the Maquila Solidarity Network, and the Clean Clothes Campaign that were already collaborating withcorporations to implement safety protocols in the supply chains. This collaboration birthed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (the “Bangladesh Accord”), which was the first international agreement to include global brands, retailers, and trade unions in a legally binding framework.