Start a Storm
We catch up with 18 year old Jennifer Rockwell, after bravely protesting with her friends at the H&M opening.
It takes a lot of courage to protest the way you and your friends did outside H&M, you've really made some waves in the media! What inspired you to do it?
Ever since finding out the truth about the people who died for those $8 t shirts, I feel sick going into the stores I used to love. It’s a form of slavery that is still largely unknown to majority of the West.
But they don’t think we care. People do care - they just don’t know. And if the consumers make a demand, these franchises would change in a matter of days.
So, have you ever protested anything before? Were you worried about getting in trouble?
This was all of our first protest! We were so nervous - as soon as we sat down I couldn’t stop shaking.
We knew the cause needed media coverage to start that conversation. It was never about me, or my friends, or any of us being ‘heroic’.
It’s about those who continue to lose loved ones to factories collapsing because of the lack of safety regulations, who die in factory fires that could have been avoided if there were fire exits and extinguishers.
You got a huge amount of media coverage. How did you organise the protest?
A lot of my friends are just as passionate as me about this issue, and we were so sad when we saw the excitement in New Zealand about H&M coming here. No one seemed to be aware of the suffering that takes place for those clothes, and that’s something we have noticed a lot through this whole journey.
So we made a Facebook group and from the 300 invited 8 showed up. But that’s okay! It only takes 8 young people to stand up to an entire system of injustice.
What would you say to young women like yourself if they were aware of something that didn’t seem fair but they were nervous to speak up?
It’s okay to be nervous! Its normal- you’re human. I suffer from pretty bad anxiety and so I totally understand what it feels like to want to speak, but the anxiety stops you. My advice would be try to remind yourself that it’s not about you.
Keep up to date with Jennifer and her journey to make fashion ethical on her Instagram.