You may want to think twice about being a sneakerhead. The Thompson Reuters Foundation is bringing awareness to modern-day slavery with an innovative campaign that calls out the sneaker industry.
Citing a recent report from the Federal government stating that over 134 products from 73 countries are directly tainted with slavery—from coconuts hand-picked in the Philippines to diamonds mined in Angola— Unboxing The Real Price of Sneakers raises awareness on the hidden human price of popular gear worn by today’s youth.
The campaign sees YouTube influencer Jacques Slade opening a custom pair of trainers for the first time. At first glance, the kicks—designed by LA’s The Shoe Surgeon— seem dope enough, with off-white leather mid-tops, suede details, and zig-zag stitching. But then things take a dark turn. A closer look reveals hidden facts about slavery and forced labor. The price tag on the kicks doesn’t display the cost, but instead, the price of a slave today ($90). The tongue tag has “40M” designed to look like a logo. But flip it over and there’s text explaining that there are 40 million slaves today. Sweatshop images are printed on the insoles, sending the stirring message home that almost nothing is untainted.
“How many people today are questioning the human price of the shoes they wear?”
“The video is brilliant. Jacques Slade has spread a critical message at a pace and scale that is breathtaking,” adds Monique Villa, Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO. “How many people today are questioning the human price of the shoes they wear? We hope this film will encourage hundreds of thousands more to do so.”
While the sneakers aren’t for sale, they bring awareness to a powerful cause. Take a look at the full video above and check out the gallery below for a closer look.