16 October 2013

Human rights in the fashion industry (Blog Action Day)

Today is Blog Action Day and the theme is human rights.

From their site:

"Blog Action Day is an free annual event, that has run since 2007. It’s aim is to unite the world’s bloggers by posting about the same issue, on the same day, in order to raise awareness and trigger a positive global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all, raises awareness or even funds for not-for-profits associated to the theme issue."

Since I'm not much of a writer, I'm sharing a guest post by Esther Freeman from Ms Wanda's Wardrobe with you. It's part of the helpful bloggers’ kit that she created for today.

As part of Blog Action Day Fashion Mob founder, Esther Freeman, explains why it’s dangerous to point the finger of blame at consumers for human rights abuses by the fashion industry.
Since the collapse of the Rama Plaza building in Bangladesh, the media has been full of discussions and head scratching about fashion. One comment that keeps coming up is the responsibility of consumers around fast fashion.
Quite frankly this is nonsense. Furthermore it is dangerous to suggest so.
All too often high street chains whine about how hard it is for them to improve human rights, and how they’d change but consumers don’t want it. It’s become their get out clause. And by saying consumers have some kind of responsibility, we reinforce that myth.
It also overlooks that slavery, poverty and disaster happen at the higher end of the fashion too. There have been several campaigns against Adidas and their refusal to compensate workers and pay a living wage. And designer brands like Dolce & Gabbana have been in the firing line too.
In an interview for the film Apparel Truth, a trade union leader in Bangladesh is very clear where the responsibility lies. He said:
The main profit from this business is going to the multi-national company…The multinational company is putting pressure on the local business to pay a living wage. But also the multinational company is putting pressure on the local business to reduce their price.”
So let’s point the finger where it should be pointed – at the global brands who create human rights abuses as fast as they create fashion.
That’s not to say consumers have no role to play in creating change.
People power is incredibly important. That’s why we launched The 1% Campaign. The campaign calls on the fashion industry to invest 1% of their profits in solving issues in their supply chain, especially around human rights. We need more time and investment in activities like better auditing, health and safety training and improved working with NGOs and trade unions at local level.
Consumers are in a powerful position to demand this. And if we all work together we can help bring about a solution.
>> Sign the 1% Campaign petition and demand that multinationals take responsibility for what happens in their name.
Thanks for the great post, Esther. What are your thoughts on ethical fashion? Who should be responsible? I've already signed the petition. Please sign it and share it with your friends.

Thousand of bloggers from around the world are taking part in Blog Action day. To see all the participants and read their blog posts, click here.


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