Who is making my clothes?

Posted in October 28th, 2017
by Jacinta Lithgow
Comments Off on Who is making my clothes?

16days-clothing-acrathWho is making my clothes?
Ask the question.who is making my clothes?

We invite students and teachers to join ACRATH and the global community for 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

Chances are that children and adults working in sweatshops, for little money and often in appalling and hazardous conditions, make some of the clothes you wear, or clothes you might want to buy this summer.

Remember the terrible tragedy at the Rana Plaza in 2013 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, when an eight-story building collapsed, killing 1136 people and injuring 2500. Most of the dead and injured were poorly paid female garment makers, producing many of the clothes that end up in Australia.

Since then some of the big brand companies have worked to ensure conditions have improved. Others have not.

Once you know how your favourite brand of clothes is made,
you can never again say, “I didn’t know”.

Ask the question – how does my favourite clothing brand company treat workers?

  • 2017 ethical fashion guideFor the past four years Baptist World Aid has produced, The Truth Behind The Barcode Australian Fashion Report. It’s a report card on the fashion industry and it rates your favourite brands when it comes to their workers’ safety, wages and other conditions. Download the report in full or view it online here
  • Oxfam released a report, Still In The Dark – Lifting the Cloak on the Global Garment Trade in April this year (2016).  The report reveals almost 60% of Australia’s major brands are cloaked in secrecy. Oxfam has investigated 12 of Australia’s major fashion retailers. Of these, Oxfam found only five have taken strong action to ensure the transparency of their supply chains.oxfam-report-labour-rights-still-in-the-dark

    Read the report card and find out if your favourite clothing brand is transparent about the supply chain
    that brings clothes from the factory floor
    to our stores here in Australia.
    download here 

What can I do to encourage my favourite clothing brand to look after its workers, many working more than 12 hour days for very poor wages and little hope of an education?

Now you know a bit more about how your clothes are produced and who is doing what.
You know who is trying to make life better for garment workers and who is not.

ACRATH 16 days campaign 2016

As a class you can:

Demand Changes

Look at what is happening in the industry. The Truth Behind the Barcode looks at which companies are paying, or working towards paying their workers a ‘living wage’. The report (Page 10) states that a ‘A living wage is a wage that is sufficient for workers to be able to afford the basics (food, water, shelter, clothing, power, healthcare and education) for themselves and their dependents, while having a little left over for emergency savings or discretionary spending’. Receiving a living wage could change the lives of young people who are trapped in poverty.

Send a postcard 

Sign a petition for better conditions 

Join the #whomademyclothes fashion revolution

  • The Rana Plaza tragedy also triggered a fashion revolution around the world and you can join it today. Young people are using social media to demand #whomademyclothes.
  • In April 23-29 2018, Fashion Revolution Week (http://fashionrevolution.org) will unite people from all over the world to use the power of fashion to improve conditions for the people who make the world’s clothes and accessories.
  • Join Fashion Revolution Week 2018 and demand more brands show who made our clothes.
  • Find out where your school uniform is made.

Share the story16days-acrath buttons

  • Tell five other people what you have learned.
    Ask them to join one of the actions listed above.

Learn more

Follow the example of St Monica’s College

Students from St Monica’s College (Epping, Victoria) social justice group. Be More, searched far and wide to find out what ethically produced goods are available. They then turned their finds into a kit and made a short film.

The kit of goodies includes: chocolate, coffee, tea, soft drink, drink bottle, backpack, headphones, iPhone cover, sneakers, tee-shirt, toilet paper, soccer ball, sunglasses, cap, tissue, wallet, toothbrush, underpants and more. The kit and film about ethically produced goods, was developed with support from Fair Trade AAssociatin of Australia and New Zealand’s Fairtrade Innovation Fund, and is now a travelling road show that has gone to many schools that also want to show what’s possible.

If your school would like to host St Monica’s roadshow, contact St Monica’s College at admin@stmonicas-epping.com or 03 9409 8800.

See St Monica’s film at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4psqi-dn2I&t=5s