Monday, 1 February 2016

Have you ever thought about where your clothing comes from?

Hello dearest reader,

Have you ever thought about where your clothing comes from?
I mean really where it comes from?
 I don't mean in reference to the labels, or the store you bought it from -
 but who actually designs and who actually makes these items of clothing?

Clothing from my wardrobe.
From a variety of brands and shops.

In my own wardrobe I have a wide variety of items, from different shops, different brands. 
Varying prices.  I don't know where the majority are actually made. I mean a label may have a name and a brand, or a shop name... but often the Country of Origin may not be accurate.

I am not about to uncover a great expose - but rather I'm hopeful those who read this will think a little more about what they buy, where they buy it from and who actually manufactures such items. Even if we do not think about child labour in these sweatshops, but even consider the adults who work in these factories with low pay. We have to ask what will we as consumers do to help the people who create our clothing items? What will we do to ensure their work conditions are safer. Safer to work in without fear of death or serious injury.

I am going to highlight some particular cases and media reports - some of these are horrific, so I do advise discretion when reading, viewing and talking about them.

Wiki explains that "Sweatshop (or sweat factory) is a pejorative term
 for a workplace that has harsh/poor (socially unacceptable) working conditions. 
The work may be difficult, dangerous or underpaid. 
Workers in sweatshops may work long hours with low pay, 
regardless of laws mandating overtime pay or a minimum wage
child labor laws may also be violated."

Clothing from my wardrobe.
From a variety of brands and shops.

Last year on June 15, TV3 in New Zealand showed a TV show called "Reality Trip" it was a group of teenage fashion designers who have their minds blown when they find out who actually works in the factories creating these designer labels. Some of these sweatshops also manufacture items for everyday clothing stores which every day Kiwi's wear (and others around the world).

Watch what happens when a fashion blogger visits a sweatshop (blog).

The TV show 'Last Week Tonight Show' has a funny take on sweatshops and the effect they have.

New Zealand article blames sweatshops on the West's Fashion Industry - where people have a high turnover of clothing items.

2008 TV Documentary called Blood, Sweat and T Shirts.

Salon wrote a piece entitled "Sweatshops still make your clothes".

Treehugger put together a list of 'unethical clothing makers and asks if they could be in your closet.'

The Daily Mail has an article on Sweatshops and a reporter went undercover to seek the truth.

War on Want has another article; based in China.

Norwegian show also sends local teenagers into sweatshops. I watched these documentary style shoots on YouTube and found it very enlightening.

$5 duvet cover, and another discounted duvet cover. 
Both from Briscoes NZ.


So how do we prevent this?

1. We enforce fair and safe working conditions for all workers. No matter if they're in India, or China or elsewhere.

2. We seek out prevention of, and removal of, child labour work forces.

3. We seek out those who use these sweatshops and we, as a collective, petition them to use fair work spaces for all their workers.

4. Research and seek out fair trade agreements between countries.
Fair Trade for workers rights, workers pay and worker safety in the work place.

It seems no matter what you do, you can't win - if you try and purchase the expensive labelled items, or the cheaper everyday clothing it's likely to be made in a sweatshop.

All well worth considering while shopping,

Until next Monday,
xx Lisa.

P.S. Next Monday's post has some new excitement - I turn the tables and ask you some questions (survey time!) 
AND I'm doing my first ever Q and A! Send me your questions to facebookinstagram - OR you can tweet me @listay1 with the hashtag #LisaTaylorAMA