On International Women’s Day, I wanted to offer a friendly reminder that over 75% of the worlds garments are produced by women, often in exploitative conditions of developing countries where working conditions are poor/unsafe and workers are not paid a livable wage.
And before I continue, I want to make clear that this is by no means a post meant to shame anyone, as let’s be honest, most of us have items in our closet produced by brands with this type of business model - myself included. It was only after I embarked on this journey of developing a clothing brand, and I learned more about the fashion supply chain, that I came face-to-face with the ugly truth of the industry. It was then that I started to look at tags and notice the "where, who and how" of garment production and why that mattered. It was with this awareness that I started to make small changes to my brand and personal behaviour, sought to educate myself further and share what I have learned.
Change starts with awareness. Intention follows. And progress follows that.
So, here are a few things you can do to support the women in the fashion supply chain:
- Learn about the global fashion supply chain! I recommend the documentary The True Cost (available on Netflix) and I have linked a very informative article: The ugly side of fast fashion: This is the scary impact it's having on our world. Also, some great accounts to follow in this regard include The Sustainable Fashion Forum (@thesustainablefashionforum) and Fashion Revolution (@fash_rev). Both offer information, insight and suggestions on how you can take small steps to contribute to making positive change in supporting women in the fashion supply chain and reducing your environmental impact.
- Identify brands that offer transparency into their factories and supply chain.
- Ask brands (via social media, email, or phone) where they produce their clothing and how they consider the welfare of their workers in the process.
- Spend your money to reflect your values. Assume that the cheaper the clothing the higher the chance it was produced by exploited women.
And so as we wave the flags of feminism and ‘women supporting women’ today, let's make a collective agreement to be mindful of who makes the clothes we wear on our bodies everyday and the true cost of our clothing. Let’s start asking more questions and then make purchasing decisions that better reflect our values. Why? Hayat Rachi answers this with a simple truth: "you cannot exploit women in one country to empower them in another".
Happy International Women’s Day ❤