All year round fashion lovers from all over the world come together in different countries to celebrate the ever-evolving world of fashion. We applaud, critique, commend, and swipe our credit cards, just to get our hands on the latest fashion accessory from favorite designers. But how often do we literally ask the question ‘Who really made my clothes?’ and this is not asking about the brand names but the actual workforce.
According to a study, roughly 75 million people are cloth-makers all over the World. With China, Myanmar, India, Cambodia, Bangladesh topping the list of cloth-manufacturing countries in the World. Majority of these cloth-makers live in abject poverty, with barely enough to get them through every passing week. This is quite ironic considering the luxurious lifestyle of the fashion world. One naturally would think that those who work tirelessly to bring the ideas of designers to life, get a reasonable chunk in remuneration.
Fashion revolution is a global movement seeking greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry. Their major aim is to spark a revolution that changes the general production pattern of clothes in the fashion industry.
Although brands have had some success in reducing child labor and improving the working environments of cloth-makers, their persistent search for countries with lower labor costs and tax will continue to provide basis for a tangled web of illegal and unjust activities in these manufacturing factories.
In February 2017, the Guardian reportedly published an article, revealing the living conditions of cloth-makers in Myanmar. The average age of a cloth-maker in this country is 14 years, working at 13p an hour (which is below half of the legal minimum wage) for up to 60 hours a week. Though it is legal for 14 year olds in the country to work 4 hours a day, these children are given false factory ages thus making it possible for them to work extra long hours at cheaper rates. It was furthermore reported that forceful extra hours are often imposed on these workers, and at the end of the day, they still get owed for such.
The 2015 annual report from the Clean Clothes Campaign—an organization that fights for the improvement in the standard of living of female clothes manufacturers in the garment and sportswear industry—clearly stated that despite various intensive campaigns to improve the working environments of cloth-makers following the tragic Rana building collapse that occurred on the 24th of April 2013, claiming 1,134 lives and leaving 2000 people injured, it still found many manufacturing factories where top designer clothes are made in a sad state of dilapidation, once again putting thousands of lives at risk.
Did you know?
While many top designer brands have included the right to a living wage in their code of conducts, only a few are working towards raising the wages of the cloth-makers.
This April, the three-year old revolutionary movement, Fashion Revolution, will be having her #whomademyclothes week starting on the 24th—30th of April 2017, in honor of the 2013 Rana Building collapse. The topic of this year’s revolutionary movement is aimed at seeking transparency and fair treatment towards cloth-makers.
You can help make a difference by taking part in the fashion revolution week from anywhere in the world. Your voice can finally get your favorite fashion brand, both local and international, to step up to the plate and make sure the lives of the real clothing superheroes turn around for the better.