Words by Lauren Rosenberg Art by Bridget Melville
If the labels on the clothes and food I wore and ate this week were aeroplane tickets, I’d have done a lot of travelling.
I have travelled from Australia (Weet-bix) to Bangladesh, Vietnam, China (where all my dresses and T-shirts are made); back to Australia (Dejour jeans) and then to China (where my Cotton On boots were mass produced). I’m back in Australia, eating my leftover pasta with mushies and cherry tomatoes, but halfway through, I take a trip to an ocean that’s probably not in Australia to eat my salmon. I quickly hop over to Italy for some tinned tomatoes and zip around to Canada for some mayo.
I wake up in China with my doggo PJs, but soon head home to Australia to take a 100% Australian shower. My shampoo and conditioner are Australian made and owned, my face scrub is Lush and my soap is Dawn Tan. A striped long sleeve in my sister’s drawer allows me to stay in Australia, but I am soon on the plane to China to get my boots that were bought at an op shop in Budapest. I am home for lunch (rice, cheese and avo), dinner (beef pie) and the banana I eat afterwards.
I’m in Australia for breakfast (peanut butter and bread) and I’m wearing a T-shirt made in Melbourne. My dungarees are from the op shop, but I’m sure they’re not locally made – so my plane is in limbo somewhere. The potato, egg, nuts and strawberries I have for lunch/snack allow me to come home for a bit. For dinner, I say treat yo’self and have both a little bit of sushi and Lord of the Fries chips. The sushi is being made right in front of me, although I’m not sure if it’s been imported or not; Lord of the Fries chips are made from Aussie potatoes.
I almost hop on a plane to Chile just so I can add some frozen berries to my smoothie, but I show some restraint. Like me, my smoothie is a little bit pale this morning. I get to stay in Australia with my Dejour jeans and yet another made in Australia T-shirt, courtesy of my sister’s cupboard. I take a quick trip to Hong Kong for my ski jacket. I get to stay home for lunch (leftover beef pie). I zip over to the Netherlands for a peanut biscuit that I wasn’t going to eat, but then forget it was made overseas. At the movies, I treat myself to a choc-top: overpriced, but at least made here.
I’m back in Australia with my carbs (bread roll and peanut butter) for breakfast. The yellow pencil skirt and ill-fitting black top makes me look like an unusually shaped crayon, #farshun. For lunch, I get to stay home with a pan-fried gozleme. I don’t like my crayon #look, so I change into an unlabelled flower box shirt, which takes me to limbo. I stay in limbo with my precious, badge-covered denim jacket that has a label that says ‘Union Made’. I’m back home for dinner, with pho that is made right in front of my tired eyes.
I’m in Australia (and even Melbourne) for the first part of the day, with my Weet-Bix breakfast and made in Melbourne T-shirt. My dungarees put me back in limbo, and the food at the conference I attend is probably imported. I am out for dinner, and probably go all over the world through it; my auntie cooks and I just eat.
For the last supper/breakfast, I get to be home with my fruit salad. My Dejour jeans and my sister’s top keeps me here; my denim jacket not only puts me in limbo, but ensures double denim. I’m rushing around today, so for lunch I have pho broth (very weird) and a boiled egg. Afternoon tea (a schnitzel sandwich from Brunetti’s) and dinner (salmon) put me in limbo.
If labels were tickets, I would’ve been to at least seven countries, and spent a hell of a lot of time in limbo.
When I opened my laptop to type this piece, I had already failed (my Mac is made in China), but this week has been so eye-opening. I didn’t realise how much of the food I eat everyday is imported, and it has made me a little bit sad. Like with my clothes, I would absolutely love to support Aussie growers and makers, but unfortunately my wallet does not support this. I do shop mainly at op shops, but my goal is to buy more Aussie made clothes, and where possible, go to farmer’s markets and buy in season.