24 April 2013, 1134 people died at the Rana-Plaza disaster occurred in Bangladesh. Many fashion brands and retail chains produce their clothes in developing countries under very poor conditions for the workers.
Therefore, the British Carry Somers therefore founded Fashion Revolution, an international movement that demands transparency from the fashion industry and calls on consumers to become more aware by asking themselves who made their clothes. In the weeks running up 24 April everyone is campaigning for transparency and a better life for garment workers.
I have been following Clean Clothes Campaign live blog on COVID-19 and posting daily on social media about the mishaps of the multinational retail chains the past weeks. Many larger brands are not paying their factories in the far East during the corona crisis. These brands are taking zero responsibility for the orders placed and the workers who made them. This way they are ‘saving’ their liquidity or money for shareholders and to well-paid managers.
As a fashion industry professional, I am very much aware how important it is to get cash flow into the supply chains as soon as possible, in order for the garment workers, without social security in their countries, to be safe.
If we shop at Fair brands and retailers with a holistic approach we know the first thing they will do is to pay it to their suppliers, compared to the larger chains whose money goes to shareholders before anywhere else. Hence why we have been campaigning to shop fair brands at your local eco-friendly retailer throughout Corona and show off your purchases with #coshona.
Don’t let garment workers pay the bill!
#whomademyclothes? They make your clothes!
Cashflow impacts purchasing decisions
For the same reason, it is important to #MoveTheSales as late as possible. Only with enough mark-up, retailers and brands can continue fair purchasing decisions next year, without pressuring factories to produce at even lower prices. The lower the price, the lower the probability of ethical and eco-friendly production practises. From a sustainability perspective, this is also a good move to move the sales season to the actual season.
Transparency is key to earn your customer's trust: #whosavedtheworkers
Regardless of the fact that giants like Primark, Bestseller and C&A are failing on ethical practises throughout Corona I am hopeful our Belgian brands are doing better on the ethical level.
So next to #whomademyclothes, I would like to raise a second question #whosavedtheworkers in countries with cheap labour as a result of a failing social security system during #coronacrisis?
Now it’s time to hear some statements from our Belgian and Dutch retail chains, who consider themselves small buyers on the international market.
How are you dealing with the situation? Why the silence? Just an honest answer would do…
Tell us what you do and what you need to do to secure jobs. How is Corona affecting your company and your cash flow? How will you keep long term business relations healthy and how are you contributing to the future of their workers? And what measures are you taking to keep this all sustainable, ethical and meaningful?
I also know some larger brands have their own factory. It’s the perfect time to communicate how well you care for your workers and how owning the factory makes it manageable to care?
It’s time to lead by example and live up to your Belgian greatness!
I challenge you: which Belgian brands will transparently communicate their efforts in clear manner?
Ginger, CKS, Brantano, Caroline Biss, Essentiel, Rue Blanche, Xandres, Hampton Bays, Marie Jo, Natan Couture, Scapa World, Lola Lisa, Wearable Stories, Bellerose, Mayerline, Gigue, JBC, Bel & BO, Furore,...?
#WhoMadeMyClothes #WhoSavedTheWorkers #PayUp
Cashflow is a different story at small designers producing locally
We asked sustainable Belgian brands and designers what they are doing to save her beloved garment workers family. Watch our Q&A sessions on social media to discover how they are weighing in to change the fashion industry.
Bigger brands, please also step up and show off how ethical you are. For full transparency we suggest you answer the following questions:
We’ve paid this, we need more cash flow to also secure this, and we take these measures to secure that cash flow. We will keep/cancel so and so order and how does that relate to sustainability and long term factory relations. I also know some larger brands have their own factory. It’s the perfect time to communicate how well you care for your workers and how owning the factory makes it manageable to care?
I am really hopeful many do better than multinationals but your customers should know!
Customers, which brands would you like to answer the question?
Tuesday 21/04 at 16:30 Studio Ama (Instagram LIVE)
Thursday 23/04 at 10:00 F.A.M.
Thursday 23/04 at 15:00 Infantium Victoria (Instagram LIVE)