Nacogdoches' Pop-up Ethical Shop combines art, consumerism

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - How much thought do you place in a purchase? Does cost override supporting a good cause? Does "Made in USA" make more difference to you than finding a great bargain import? These are the questions asked at a unique event in Nacogdoches.

The Pop-up Ethical Sweat Shop combines the study of art and consumerism.

These college students may be accustomed to grab and buy all their purchases. Elana Langer encourages shoppers to conscientiously think about the consequences of a consumer's choices.

"Pop up ethical sweat shop is a shopping experience where you can shop both by style, price, and ethical consideration," Langer, a visiting artist, said.

Langer just happens to be selling bags to artistically make her point. She explained to one customer that the Made in the USA bag is constructed on site. The laborer sits in a display window.

"I didn't expect to be put in front of everyone," Langer said.

Aside from gathering curious stares, it shows consumers the time and effort needed to construct a bag.

"And we have the factory bag that's been made in China," Langer said. "Here's the complicated bag. Part has been made in China and part has been made in the USA. And over here you have the do-gooder bag. They're made from recycled rice bags."

They're sewn by abused women needing a trade. A menu shows what you pay for with each choice.

"The environmental, the economic, the human conditions," Langer said. "All of that is going into your consideration of your overall impact."

The artist, who has an interest in international development, wants to have an impact toward meaningful choices.

"It's complicated to make all these choices," Langer said. "Like I can't say made in USA is better than helping women in Cambodia who need jobs. There are different considerations that are meaningful to you at different times and how do we process difficult choices and where does the conversation begin?"

And stimulating that conversation is Langer's goal more so than selling a bag from any origin.

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