ethicalbusiness

Workers’ Rights in the Fashion Industry

A Reflection on the International Workers’ Day

As today we commemorate International Workers’ Day once again, it prompts us to pause and reflect on the state of workers’ rights within the fashion industry. International Workers’ Day is synonymous with Labour Day, annual holidays to celebrate the achievements of workers.

Some facts about workers’ rights in the fashion industry:

1. “Luxury brands show poor efforts to reduce forced labour.” (source KnowTheChain). Specifically, KnowTheChain evaluated fashion companies’ adherence to International Labour Organization standards in their supply chain, establishment of internal responsibilities to address forced labour risks, support for worker empowerment, and implementation of programs to address forced labour allegations. So, companies received scores ranging from zero to 100, with the average fashion company scoring 21. Luxury companies rank second lowest in average score among all sub-sectors, making them particularly flagrant offenders.
In short, among the luxury companies assessed:
LVMH: 6 out of 100
Prada: 9 out of 100
Kering: 23 out of 100
Only seven out of 20 disclosed the complete first tier of their suppliers, including names and addresses.

2. Alviero Martini: under investigation for starving wages.

3. Giorgio Armani Operations: put into receivership for labour exploitation.  Workers in Chinese-run workshops paid 2-3 euros/day, judges say. Probe finds migrant workers eating, and sleeping in factories.

4. Zara and H&M‘s cotton suppliers: involved in land grabbing, illegal deforestation and human rights violations (source Earthsight). Also, this revelation is particularly alarming as it implicates Better Cotton, a certified sustainable cotton label.

5. Low wages made Bangladesh the second largest clothing exporter after China, developing a huge industry for the country. There are about four million garment workers, mostly women, whose wages are the lowest in the world. In addition, the inflation and the devaluation of the taka against the US dollar (30% from the beginning of 2023) created unsustainable conditions for workers. Specifically, garment workers in Bangladesh make clothes for large groups such as H&MZaraGapLevi’s, NextAsos, and New Look.

6. After the Jaba Garmindo factory bankruptcy in Indonesia, 2,000 Indonesian garment workers have fought for the $5.5 million legally owed in severance pay since 2015. The workers made clothes for Uniqlo and German fashion brand s.Oliver, among others. (source cleanclothes.org)

7. China is the biggest exporter of ready-made clothes, monopolising nearly 40% of the global garment industry. Driving China’s $187 billion garment trade are over 10 million garment workers. People who toil under oppressive and exploitative working conditions, mostly for high street brands. …While foreign brands’ business is booming, China bans the fundamental human right of workers to form and join independent trade unions. Driving a race to the bottom on wages and working conditions, brands expect low production prices and a compliant workforce and governments allow this along with factory owners out of fear of losing foreign business. Exploiting this arrangement is the Asian retail giant, UNIQLO. (source waronwant.org).

Conclusion: what about consumers’ role?

While we commemorate International Workers’ Day, we’re compelled to confront a shameful truth about workers’ rights in the fashion industry. In fact, workers are often regarded as nothing more than commodities that brands can exploit for their own profit. 

The absence of moral fabric within the industry is evident, as is the disregard shown by consumers who choose to ignore this issue despite the wealth of available information.

But why do people ignore human rights and still support these brands through their consumption choices?

Workers’ Rights in the Fashion Industry Read More »

The world you want

How do you choose it?

The world you want is the one you have already chosen.

Do you know how? Through your purchases. Through the things you buy: food, clothes, objects and furniture… How much you consume and how you consume.

This is how you vote: you do it with your wallet. And you do it without even thinking because it’s the conditioned reflex of unaware humans.

Indeed, you have already chosen the world you want. And your style shows it. In fact, fashion is just one piece of the big puzzle.

Your favourite world surrounds us: overconsumption, huge quantity over quality, and human rights violated.

So enjoy it! It’s here! Enjoy your world!
Are you happy with it?

Unless you see things from a different viewpoint. Which is a possibility, indeed.
So, you are generous enough to care about the impact of your actions. And to see that this thoughtless and out of control lifestyle is taking us to self-destruction.

Because we – humans – are responsible for climate change.
The recent heatwave and droughts are tangible responses to our reckless actions.

Are you sure you want to vote for this world?
Are you still ok with it?

Or do you want to change?

The world you want Read More »

NO SALES: what you can do to change for the better

Your sustainable act of consciousness

It’s the second year of our NO SALES resolution. If you come across our activity by chance, you may discover now that we do not participate in sales or promotions anymore.

What is the reason?

The market is hyper-saturated, filled to the brim with disposable clothing. Heavy discounts and obsessive promotions are indicators of a sick system. They reflect an economy based on overproduction, which compels the unceasing growth of fake needs. So, blind consumers are manipulated and induced to buy whatever products.

Of course, sales are not a sustainable strategy

Independent businesses or local and small activities cannot follow big corporations on this unhealthy plan. That exploits the environment and needs slavery to thrive.
Also, the retail price should take into account creativity, quality and labour. Therefore, fair wages for the production chain.

Once we have realised the whole economic system is corrupted, we have decided not to conform to fashion standards anymore. And so, we have reduced the quantity we order every season. And by refining our selection, we opted for a capsule wardrobe focused only on meaningful items.

This is what:

• We don’t need quantity anymore
• We choose quality and good design
• We select items made to last
• Fair wages for all the production chain

We are here to make something different, to change for the better. And to promote conscious fashion and slower consumption.
If the status quo is what you still want to support, just look around. It’s everywhere. You don’t need us.

But if you have lost that frenzy and search for value instead, we are here for you. Uniqueness is our strength. Indeed you won’t find anyone dressed like you.

No Sales!

No sales – is your act of consciousness.
And it’s the ultimate sustainable economic model for a long-term approach which supports creativity, quality, and fair wages.

It is time not to conform to a worldview that leads to destruction.

No sales mean less stuff, more meaning.
It’s a radical and conscious lifestyle choice #formodernhumans

NO SALES: what you can do to change for the better Read More »

Production chains impasse

The urgency to make a change

Production chains have been disrupted first by the pandemic and second by the war in Ukraine. Which, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to have a short term solution.

And so, the question arises about how to reorganise the production system in a new sustainable way.

The most striking point is that the western world is set up only for consuming goods produced in countries where wages are below the standards which would allow a decent life. That is a dead-end system: corporations will never renounce that magnificent cake which secures their profits. At the same time, everyone worldwide contributes to sustaining that system by overconsuming goods.

With a complete lack of vision, most companies hope to get back to normal soon, identifying that normal with the pre-pandemic and prewar structure. But the war and the new outbreak in China added more problems, further slowing raw material supplies and destroying markets. So it just got worse. While disrupting production chains, those catastrophic events are bringing in radical changes. And maybe, even those companies who prayed for “back to normal” will understand that life will never be the same, nor will production chains.

Production chains – What are the possibilities?

Small-sized companies offering local productions are more prone to change and more adaptable to new situations. The big chains don’t have this ability to change and adapt quickly.
Artisanal should be the new normal, guided by the principle of going ahead with production only when there is a commitment to purchase. No overproduction.
Also, more focused production would give space to creativity, which is fundamental to conceiving meaningful products, goods made to last and worth buying.

Small, artisanal and creative are just some of the elements that provide a thoughtful and sustainable business model.

Of course, being creative means taking risks, so no one wants to do it because there’s no guarantee of success. But the catastrophic events we are witnessing tell us that we must change now.
In order to provide sustainable production chains, we need people leading the industries with innovative visions based on ethical principles.

Taking risks is part of the game. There’s no other way to make a change.

Production chains impasse Read More »

NO SALES

The ultimate sustainable strategy

It’s the second year of our NO SALES resolution. If you come across our activity by chance, you may discover now that we do not participate in sales or promotions anymore.

What is the reason?

The market is hyper-saturated. Full to the brim of disposable clothing. Heavy discounts and obsessive promotions are indicators of a sick system. In fact, they reflect an economy whose basic assumption is overproduction. And compel the unceasing construction of fake needs for blind consumers. In other words, people are manipulated and induced to buy any discounted item.

Therefore, sales are not a sustainable strategy. The selling price should take into account creativity, quality and labour. Which also means fair wages for the production chain. We already discussed the trick of modern-day slavery in our previous posts.

Once we have realized the whole economic system is corrupted, as a consequence, we have reduced the quantity we order. And by refining our selection, we opted for a capsule wardrobe focused only on meaningful items.

This is what:

1 – we don’t need quantity anymore
2 – we choose quality and good design
3 – we select items made to last

NO SALES

Quantity is not the answer, so we invite you to buy less.
Indeed, we suggest you buy intentionally and choose only thoughtful products.

We are here to make something different. To change for the better. And educate ourselves for slower consumption.
If the status quo is what you still want to promote, just look around. It surrounds you everywhere. You don’t need us.
But if you have lost that frenzy and search for value instead, we are here for you.

NO SALES

It’s the ultimate sustainable economic model for a long-term approach. That supports creativity, quality, and fair wages.

No sales mean less stuff, more meaning. It’s a radical and conscious lifestyle choice #formodernhumans

NO SALES Read More »