The fast fashion industry depends on cheap labour to keep prices as low as possible. In larger chains, money often goes first to the shareholders and the workers are just an afterthought. The many scandals about large chains and world-famous brands prove just how urgently working conditions need to be improved. There are four ways to create fair working conditions:
1. Local Belgian production
2. Western European production
3. Production in certified factories in Asia or Eastern Europe
4. Capacity building: productions in low-wage countries set up by non-profit organisations or manufacturers with the intention of empowering local communities. The brands LN Knits, Hadithi and Aiayu (all available at Duka Moodstore in Bruges) engage in capacity building.
With capacity building a brand actively contributes to the local economy
Several brands choose to produce their garments closer to home and in better working conditions. Other brands choose suppliers outside of Europe and use certificates to guarantee that garment factories treat their workers correctly. Some initiatives set up their own NGO or factory to actively contribute to the local economy in addition to good working conditions. This is capacity building.
Smaller brands that produce in small family workshops often cannot afford expensive certificates. Many Western European factories do not have a certificate but they do adhere to the strict European and local labour legislations.