Many fashion corporations have increased their commitment to fair trading, but their main motivation to do the right thing stems from the wrong reason – fear of public backslash.
Countless clothing factory accidents happened in the past few years. These tragic events exposed inhuman business practices, generating waves of rage and anger worldwide. After over 3000 workers were injured and died from the Rana Plaza collapse, fast fashion giants were forced to re-examine and improve their manufacturing processes to protect their public reputations.
As part of their remediation methods, companies draft up codes of conduct to ensure the rights and safety of garment workers. However, codes of conduct are completely voluntarily based. These companies are not legally bound to their promises. How can clothing brands stop their unethical behavior completely? Especially when developing countries don’t have labor protection laws, and factory audits are ineffective.
To make real changes, there is a basic formula – all of us need to do the right thing. By us, I meant consumers, governments and clothing companies. Proof? History. Perhaps the Triangle fire in 1911 sets up a perfect example. After 100+ workers died from a fire accident at a clothing factory, activists across the U.S. sprung up, and advocated for legislations that would protect factory workers. As a result, work hours and wages are regulated, and factories in the US have significantly improved the working environment. There are so many ways we can make changes, and they are though consumer driven protests against unethical companies, petitions for labor and environment protection laws, law enforcement via effective audits and penalties.
While the problem has become international, this basic formula maintains the same.
We may not have the power to change laws in foreign countries, but the U.S. has so much influence over the world economy that our responsible actions will count and trickle down. One example is the quotas the U.S. has on the amount of imported goods allowed from different countries. If we can control how much to import from each country, why can’t we favor ethically made clothing? And what about our preference for organic/fair-trade foods? If there are grocery stores such as the Wholefoods, why can’t we implement the same concept for clothing? Until we as consumers, governors, or clothing companies start doing our parts to promote responsible behaviors in the fashion industry, unethical business practices will still continue, or the next alarm won’t be as light as the Rana Plaza collapse.
The ladies behind me were like “What is she doing?”
Thank you so much for reading.
Smile and style on~
Top :: Anthropologie (On Sale!)
Shorts :: H&M CONSCIOUS (Don’t agree with their fast fashion model)
Shoes :: Vince Camuto (Very Old)
Earrings :: Bought them in Japan, but I think it’s DIY-able. (Tutorial?)