I changed into a newly-bought white lace shirt, put on my sister’s parka jacket and cycled 7.6km to the Rathaus at Marienplatz, where I’d be meeting Yun Wei, Ela and Momo at 1.30pm. 1/3 of Autumn has already flown past and with drastically lowered temperatures, the reality of winter as a soon arriving visitor has already become pretty significant.
Thus, it became pretty urgent for me to get about searching for my own winter clothing instead of borrowing the winter coat, which my sister left behind here before she left for Singapore, daily.
3.5 hours on, I found myself armed with 2 coats, 2 pair of gloves, 3 pairs of socks, a belt, a skirt, 2 pairs of tights, a biking head band (basically a ‘beanie without the top’, leaving only one’s ears and forehead warm – the perfect solution for me when I feel like having my hair tied up in a ponytail/ bun!) and a pair of boots. Thank the Heavens for the brilliant girls helping me pick my purchases out. They were darlings to say the least.
In a country which experiences 4 seasons in a year, shops receive a new batch of clothing line every 3-ish months due to the differing type of clothing required from season to season. This means out-of-this-world discounts because the shops would be clearing their stock from the previous season. Think 50% – 80% off the total bill. It was because of this blessing in the form of discounts that I managed to tick everything off my winter wear’s shopping list!
Winter shopping was something I had put off for quite a while now because of the very fear that I’d be put in a position in which I’d have no choice but to purchase something produced through unethical means – sweatshops, animal poaching or skinning.
After a while of going through the shops, I began to realise that jackets of a certain price range (60 – 100 €) had the perfect balance of quality, comfort and ethics. These jackets are usually made out of polyester, cotton and fabric acrylic. They feel great on my skin, keep me warm, are incredibly light, and well… they look pretty great too if I’d say so myself. I really couldn’t ask for more.
As we weaved through the throngs of locals and tourists, we chanced upon a group of clearly disgruntled PETA volunteers staging a demonstration to protest against the choice to use animal skin and fur for the production of our clothing.
Two of them were lying on the ground while donning body suits which was designed in such a way that provided an inside look into the human body – organs, blood vessels, everything – to show the passers-by what it means to have a living being skinned. I suppose that by using human beings as the ‘exhibits’, they aimed to make the link between human’s consumerism habits and the fate of the beautiful animals more obvious than it unfortunately is at the moment.
A couple of them were standing behind a booth where people could sign a petition against the animal-skinning industry.
One of them was reciting a script…
She said, “Ist es nicht peinlich, dass wir so viele Tiere leiden lassen, damit wir uns kleiden können? Ist es nicht peinlich, dass wir solch eine Industrie unterstützen?”…
// “Isn’t it embarrassing that we let so many animals suffer so that we can clothe ourselves? Isn’t it embarrassing that we support such an industry?” …
Ela then shared something she experienced in the U-Bahn (Munich’s train system) recently. She said that there was a poster in the train spreading the message on the reality behind the Pelz (fur) on our clothing, and that a young girl (probably a first-grader) had her eyes fixated on the poster.
“Mama, ist es aus Pelz?” // “Mama, is this made out of fur?” *points at her own coat*
“Nein, es ist nicht.” // “No, it is not.”
“Oh Gott sei Dank.” // “Oh thank God.”
It was pretty heartwarming to hear about how impressionable and inherently kind-hearted people can already be. I started to wonder if growing up toughened us up to the point of obliviousness towards the suffering of fellow living things.
We parted ways and I made my way towards where I had parked my bike. I looked up towards the sky as a cool raindrop fell on my right cheek and trickled its way down to my chin, leaving a trail of chilled skin behind it. It took no longer than a few minutes for the light drizzle to intensify into a light downpour so I knew that the next half hour would be a race against Nature as I attempted to escape the rain scot-free. I pulled my hoodie over my head and pedalled home as quickly as my legs could take me…