24h with Molly Mae & a Garment Worker
Unless you’re better than the rest of us, and have decided to take leave-of-absence from the social media world for the last few months, only to come back to read this article specifically, the words “Molly Mae” and “24 hours in a day” will ring a few bells. While speaking on Steven Bartlett’s (hi again Steven 👋🏼) podcast Diary of a Ceo, ex love-islander Molly-Mae commented that “we all have the same 24h in a day” and that we can really achieve anything we put our minds to. As the six-figure salaried ‘creative director’ (quotation marks are entirely intentional) of Pretty Little Thing, a fast-fashion company accused of paying their garment workers a mere £3.50 an hour, when the living wage is £9.50, her statement comes off as clueless at best, and detached and tone-deaf at worst.
But what did Molly Mae say that was so wrong? One of the widely-dissected quotes by Molly was her comparison to Beyonce’s 24 hours: “Beyoncé has the same 24 hours in the day that we do and I just think, like, you’re given one life and it’s up to you what you do with it, you can literally go in any direction,” insinuating that everybody has the ability to make whatever they wish of themselves, and failing to acknowledge the high-stool of privilege a lot of us sit on, or a lot of us lack due to circumstances outside of our control.
So in honour of Fashion-Revolution Week (April 18th-24th), we thought we would bring back a trend as old as time- we’re spending a day (or 24 hours) with Molly-Mae Hague, and a garment worker.
In her Day in the Life of a Creative Director video on the PLT youtube channel, Molly describes a bright and early morning, and laments the loss of her car keys, indirectly thanking her partner Tommy for driving her to work because she would otherwise be “lost without him”.
Around the same time (early in the morning is a rather vague concept, so we can never be sure), garment workers in Cambodia walk to their factories. In a study done by Fashion Revolution, respondents report that although conditions have somewhat improved over the years, many workers still continue to fear for their safety.
Molly goes on to describe her full day ahead, with “so much going on”. She finishes up her introduction by saying she “can’t wait to show a full day in the life of PLT’s creative director” as so many people have been asking her what she gets up in a day within her new role- whether these questions were genuine or ironic, we can only speculate.
If any of you are as terminally online as I am, you might remember Addison Rae joking about becoming a red carpet interviewer, ahead of a UFC event, after studying broadcast journalism “in college for 3 whole months to prepare for this moment”. Needless to say, the joke (or so she says) was faced with an enormous amount of backlash, especially on twitter.
@pheromones wrote “i got a 33 on my ACT and was a national merit semifinalist, spent thousands of dollars and hours of hard work to receive a bachelor's degree from the best journalism school in the country, was commencement speaker, and applied to 75+ jobs to be unemployed,” their tweet being liked over 100k times. This was one of many such responses.
You might be thinking- why are we talking about Addison Rae? Well, let me tell you! When Molly-Mae refers to herself as a creative director, I think a lot of us take that title with a little, or maybe a big, grain of salt. To hold the coveted title of creative director, one usually has to undergo some 30 years of proving yourself in the field, once you’ve accumulated the skills and portfolio to back up your experience. To earn a spot as somebody who wholly decides a brand’s direction is not usually something which can be done with absolutely no prior experience. It is more than creating a vibey playlist for a photoshoot and taking some selfies in the brand’s clothes to post on your social media.
So the reason, really, for this intermission, is to add a few more grains of salt to Molly’s statement, as she indirectly claims that her hours of hard work landed her the position. I think we can all agree that no matter the hours we have in a day, very few people could achieve the things they put their minds to virtually overnight. Creative directors aren’t born in 24 hours (unless they go on Love Island apparently).
Anyways, back to regular scheduled programming.
The rest of Molly’s day, as outlined by her, consists of two meetings where she is seen pointing and scribbling enthusiastically over some ready sketches of dresses, as well as a meeting with PLT’s social team about upcoming campaigns, and the performance of previous campaigns. I think it’s interesting to note here that none of their upcoming campaigns are due to use models or influencers other than Molly herself- so is she really the CD or is she merely a full-time in-house influencer? I’ll let you crack that one yourself. She pauses to tell us that she’s about to take a break for lunch, which will be followed by glam-prep and the aforementioned podcast.
Back to Cambodia, where workers typically get a quick break for lunch, usually coming from outside vendors who have prepared ready-made lunches, in exchange for a few thousand riels (>£1).
Molly concludes her day by getting her hair, makeup and wardrobe redone, and recording her podcast.
After their 8-12 hour shifts, garment workers start walking home from their factories. Most women wear a few extra layers- hats, scarves and facemasks- to protect themselves from the beating sun, dust and chemicals.
So all of this is really just to say that yes we do all have 24 hours in a day (I know, call me an ancient egyptian), but they are by no means, the same. Which is really not a hot take, we know that many people have voiced their outrage with what Molly says, but it’s hard to imagine the reality of it when you’re also watching from a point of privilege (albeit maybe not as much).
It’s hard to imagine these women, who spend virtually their entire days, some their entire lives, simply putting their minds to achieving their goals. So while they spend their 24 hours creating clothes you and I wear every day, we want to urge you to take just a fraction of yours to snap back to reality and show some gratitude.