Support for Garment Workers
Most people know by now about the huge flaws in the fast fashion industry. Recent events in relation to coronavirus have brought this issue to light, again. Many major fashion retailers mishandled the coronavirus crisis, by canceling orders and not paying for orders already placed, in some cases, this happened when orders had already been fulfilled. With brands dropping all responsibility and pushing the problem onto the factories, this inevitably has affected millions of garment workers around the world. I thought now would be a good time to share some updates and resources around this issue.
The #PayUp Campaign is calling out those major retailers who are yet to pay for orders placed. You can sign the petition below to support the campaign.
Sign the #PayUpPetition
Since the #PayUp campaign was launched and brands were named and shamed for the way they have handled the situation, some companies have responded to questions about their actions during this crisis. Fashion Revolution has shared the below responses.
How major brands and retailers are responding to questions about their handling of the crisis and impacts on suppliers and supply chain workers:
- UK retailer Primark announced it would create a fund to pay its supply chain workers. But questions still remain over whether the brand will be receiving and paying for orders already made or in-production from its factories, including covering the costs of raw materials that factories have paid for in advance to manufacture their orders not yet in production.
- H&M, Target, Marks & Spencer, Inditex, Kiabi, and PVH have all publicly confirmed that they intend to receive and pay for products already made and orders already placed, but in some cases, no time frame has been outlined on when payments will be made – keeping in mind the urgency of the crisis and its catastrophic impact on workers unfolding already.
- Brands that have yet to respond to calls asking them to #PayUPinclude C&A, Mothercare, Bestseller, Tesco, Kohls, Walmart, LPP, JCPenney, among others. At the time of writing, we cannot confirm whether these brands have paid for completed and in-production orders. However, they have not publicly responded when called on to make payments in a report by the Global Center for Workers’ Rights.
- UK retailer New Look has sent a letter to its suppliers canceling in-production orders and suggesting payments would be delayed “indefinitely”. The retailer told suppliers, “This is a matter of survival”. Yet, like many brands in crisis, the fight for survival often doesn’t extend to supply chain workers or stakeholders not directly employed by the big brands.
Clean Clothes Campaign has posted a live-blog that aims to collect daily information about how the new Coronavirus COVID-19 is influencing garment workers' rights in supply chains around the world.
It is really important to highlight that according Label behind the Label approximately 80% of garment workers are women aged between 18 – 35. Women are often exploited in these roles, working long hours, and earning well below the living wage. Fast fashion is a very real feminism issue, many highstreet t-shirts promote women empowerment but the women who made the t-shirt are exploited.
To keep up to date with these events I would recommend following the Fashion Revolution on Instagram, they have also released the Fashion Transparency Index 2020.
On a positive note; there are lots of amazing independent and ethical fashion brands promoting that same message, so we can shout about empowering women and back it up!
Thanks for reading, if you want to read more about my process of working with fair trade artisans, you can view past blog posts here
And visit the Lazy Luna website here
Thanks, Sara x