Enslaving workers: has anything changed?
It seems clear that our economic system is based on enslaving workers. That’s how it thrives.
Here we quote an excerpt of Li Edelkoort’s talk from the Voices stage – via Business of Fashion. Edelkoort is one of the most respected trend forecasters. This talk is from 2015, definitely not something new.
So, why it’s worth sharing again? Because nothing has changed over time!
Enslaving workers and cheap deals
Low prices are enslaving workers and destroying cultural value.
“The manufacturing of clothes has gone through a rapid and sordid restructuring process, which has seen production leave the western world to profit from and exploit low-income countries,” said Edelkoort. “How can a product that needs to be sown, grown, harvested, combed, spun, knitted, cut and stitched, finished, printed, labelled, packaged and transported cost a couple of Euros?” she asked, comparing fashion’s supply chain to slavery.
“On the hunt for cheaper deals, volume companies, but also some luxury brands, have trusted the making of their wages to underpaid workers living in dire conditions,” she continued. “What’s more, these prices imply the clothes are to be thrown away, discarded like a condom before being loved and savoured, teaching young consumers that fashion has no value. We should make legislation to have minimum prices.”
Has anything changed so far?
No. That’s why it makes sense to touch on this issue again.
No one planned to find solutions. Brands and governments will never do it! A spontaneous act of understanding is not part of their plans. But the pandemic has contributed to exacerbating the situation. Many people lost their job, and the working conditions are even worse now.
Seven years later, we are still just talking. And talking about change when nothing ever changes can be frustrating. We like words, but actions must follow or change won’t happen.
So we signed the “Good clothes fair pay” petition, which demands a living wage for the people who make our clothes. They need 1 million EU citizen signatures.