Years ago I treated myself to a nice blue summer top from a fast fashion outlet.
Every time I saw it, I felt uneasy that somewhere along that supply chain, workers were being exploited while making new clothes. I found it easier to put it in the back of my wardrobe and pretend it didn’t exist.
And I’m not alone. He said a third of UK shoppers surveyed last year said they felt guilty about the clothes they bought. It’s easy to see why.
No week goes by without scandalous headlines about the fast fashion industry.
Last year, we heard that high street brand waste was being burned causing toxic pollution in Cambodia.The Competitive Markets Authority is now investigating ASOS, Asda’s George and Boohoo amid concerns over greenwashing. publicize that the organization is environmentally friendly).
The crumbling fast-fashion giant Missguided owes its clothing suppliers millions of dollars, poor working conditions remain rampant in Leicester, and Myanmar’s shoe factories will be out of business in 2021. I heard that a worker was shot dead in
It’s good to see the ugly truth behind fashion’s beautiful face come to light, but what’s not so good is that most of the press focuses on what we, as consumers, should do about it. We encourage you to shop ethically, research the companies you buy from, buy less, buy used, trade in, and rent clothing.
These are all great ideas and I’ll be doing some of these myself (if I have time, I love to go treasure hunting at charity shops). , money, or information to make the right choice.
But now, the cost of living crisis makes it harder than ever for all of us to do the right thing. That means many of us carry an unsettling sense of guilt that we should have done more, and somehow, it’s all our fault.
A similar approach was taken with regard to climate, where until a few years ago the finger was pointed squarely at the fossil fuel giants, but in the years since then individual carbon footprints and shopping has warned the public about the choice of When I heard UN Secretary-General António Guterres describe his five clear pathways to avoiding a climate change catastrophe, all of which point to a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. If so, it is clear who is guilty.
If we feel guilty and feel ourselves involved in the system, we are far less likely to call out the real culprits, because fast fashion stories have culprits. It is a government that has failed to regulate the sector and fashion brands themselves.
The UK government allows individual fashion owners to make huge profits from their retail stores and harm workers abroad.
If you’re serious about ending environmental destruction and exploitation in the fashion sector, these two things will stop your expenses. Many of the clothes and shoes sold in the UK are made in factories from suppliers on the other side of the globe, such as in Bangladesh and Cambodia. Long supply chains make it difficult for consumers to know how our clothes are made.
Retailers and brands hold most of the power in this supply chain arrangement. Supplier factories need business. For example, almost 85% of Bangladesh’s export earnings come from the readymade garment industry.
This imbalance of power was vividly demonstrated in 2020 when COVID broke out. Some home brands refused to pay for goods already manufactured and shipped, and some demanded discounts or delayed payments.
When Covid-19 swept the world in early 2020, fashion brands were quick to respond.
Despite the fact that they already have binding contracts with suppliers in countries like Bangladesh, India, Cambodia and Myanmar, Transform Trade, the charity I work for, believes that some companies I heard they immediately sent an email requesting a discount, delayed payment terms, or full cancellation.
It was not uncommon to see 80% discounts and half a year later payment.
For example, in June 2020, one Bangladeshi factory owner said that Topshop’s Arcadia Group had not yet paid for existing orders and that his factory had to close within days, leaving thousands They claimed their jobs were threatened.
According to campaign group Clean Clothing Campaign, some workers in the clothing supply chain have still not been paid their wages owed since then, and top brands have faced legal trouble over alleged human rights abuses during the pandemic. I’m facing
Enjoy buying and wearing your next summer top without lingering suspicions that Bangladeshi women workers are paying a pittance to make it
This meant that incredibly vulnerable people would lose their jobs and then face poverty. Those who continued to work had to work harder in more dangerous conditions. There were reports workers were forced to work long hours at no extra charge and were subject to physical and sexual violence.
Only when fashion giants treat their suppliers fairly and start paying them promptly will they be able to plan ahead and improve conditions for their employees.
And there is something we UK shoppers can do about this. You can add our voice to the Fashion Watchdog campaign. This takes her less than a minute.
The supermarket sector already has oversight bodies, and in the years since the oversight bodies were in place, supplier reports of abuse from supermarket buyers have dropped from 79% to 29%.
We know that regulation, backed by good enforcement, works. By adding your name to the petition, you help promote a world where you don’t have to feel guilty, disgusted or angry when buying clothes or reading the news.
Without lingering suspicions that women workers in Bangladesh pay a pittance to make it, or even children, I want to buy a top for next summer and enjoy wearing it.
By adding our name to the fashion watchdog call, we help level the playing field for retailers who want to do the right thing and act responsibly.
Even before the cost of living crisis, a third of UK shoppers surveyed said they could not afford to shop ethically. With soaring energy prices currently pushing millions of people into fuel shortages, it is unrealistic and unreasonable for UK shoppers to expect to resolve deep-seated inequalities through shrinking wage packets. It’s fair.
Forward fashion watchdog. Add your name, tell your friends and don’t feel guilty.
Have a story you’d like to share? Please email email@example.com.
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