Last year we saw fashion at a cross roads, it stood at a point where the dark scenes behind the industry we love were laid bare across our TV screens. On the 24th of April 2014 we couldn’t hide the truth.
1127 workers died in Bangladesh when a factory collapsed, they had been making clothes for Mango, Primark, Benetton, Matalan and many other brands.
We all stood and said no more, this has to change, the industry looked at new charters, many signed up, some refused, many paid lip service but didn’t enforce what they were pledging with words. We appear to be back where we were, and another factory disaster awaits us.
Thats perhaps not quite true, some progress was made, but not enough, many women, and it is mainly women are condemned to working 12 to 14 hour days in unsafe conditions, abused by their employers for $100 a month.
Nearly every one of us is guilty of in small or large ways of supporting this happening, when we buy its easy not to see the sweat shop, the indignity, the brutal truth about the industry we love. It is time we buy with thought, that we support the brands willing to allow their workers safety, respect and a living wage. Its time I stopped being a hypocrite and looked at what I do, to borrow from legendary designer Katherine Hamnett I need to “act local, think global” its a mantra to go forward with.
I’m going to pledge to not be so two-faced about this, I’m going to try to think more about what I purchase and where I purchase it from. Campaigning for support of indy designers and retailers isn’t enough, I need to think about the people at the sewing machines, the hands that made the garments and the fabrics used.
To borrow from Katherine Hamnett again, and to quote a T-Shirt I shall be buying from her range,
Image from Katherine Hamnett site a while back, still the most credible and coherent voice on what the fashion industry, and quite often the world in general.