With today’s fashion industry being cheap, easy and abundant, modern-day slavery has become the easiest way for big brands to get their stock produced, with brands such as H&M, Gap and Walmart looking overseas for production. These modern-day slavery practices are defined through situations of exploitation where a person is unable to leave because of violence, threats, coercion, abuse or deception.
The fashion industry has been partnering with companies in developing countries as it is cheaper to manufacture goods and import/export products. The industry currently employs over 70 million people with 70% being women.
In 2016, 3 years after the collapsing of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, a report was conducted for the International Labour Organization. The report interviewed workers in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and India and discovered that factories still had not improved as companies had promised. The report showed that workers were still working 10 to 14 hour days with the workers saying they would work in extreme heat, without breaks and access to water leading to fainting episodes. In Bangladesh, 50% of workers said they were fired without any warning. 60% of those fired stated that they were let go without receiving their due wages.
The 2018 report written by The Global Slavery Index shows that the fashion industry is the biggest at risk of being produced through modern slavery practices. According to the Global Slavery Index, out of the $354 billion brought in every year through fashion, $127 billion is attributed to fast fashion.
Things you can do
1. Ask #whomademyclothes
2. Send an email to a big brand through Fashion Revolution
If you go to https://www.fashionrevolution.org/about/get-involved/ they have a template of an email that you can send to a big brand asking for safe and ethical manufacturing practices as well as asking them where we can find their supply chain. You wouldn’t think this would have any impact but if enough people email, they will have to answer at one point.
By buying through thrift shops, you are reducing the number of clothes being made each year as well as reducing the carbon footprint of your wardrobe.
4. Support ethical producers and businesses
Through supporting ethical fashion practices you will be ensuring that more sustainable steps will be taken by big brands during their manufacturing process.
Make sure that your old clothes are being donated to those who need it. This reduces the number of textiles going into landfill every year as well as helping those in need. By upcycling clothes, you can give them a new chance to be used.
love GHM x