By Remake Staff
The story of forced labor in our fashion is old and often accomplished in subtle ways, such as intimidation or paying workers next to nothing.
Meet Char Wong, a woman who works in a subcontracting factory in Cambodia, the most shadowy part of the fashion supply chain, where she sews for H&M, Zara and Tommy Hilfiger:
Ninety-seven percent of our clothes are made overseas, and the traceability, transparency and accountability behind our fashion is more complex than other industries like food. The power of investigative journalists and storytellers play an important role in shining a light on the true cost of our fast fashion. But how can we help change these stories, for good?
At Remake, we are mobilizing consumers to move beyond boycotts and vote with their wallets. We are creating a groundswell of demand to buy better in three simple but powerful ways:
1. Humanize her
We seek to release garment makers from mainstream media’s current depiction as helpless faraway victims. Online and on campus we help millennial consumers come face to face with the women who make our clothes in a more textured way.
Our aim is to help young people understand that this garment maker’s hopes and dreams are no different to ours. We share her story of resilience and hope for a better future as a way to build empathy and ignite the next generation of conscious consumers.
2. Buy better, easier
We believe it is unrealistic to expect busy consumers to make sense of the proliferation of certifications, labels and greenwashing claims. Try our Instagram and buy better page to discover a stylish curation of truly ethical brands who are committed to the wellbeing of people and our planet.
3. Making fast fashion uncool
Exposing consumers to the human rights abuses behind our fashion is, culturally, a process of making fast fashion uncool: It’s bad for the maker; it hurts the planet; and, in the longterm, it’s more expensive for you.
“I decided to challenge myself to shop ethically for one year. What began as a self-imposed styling test has now become a new way of life: It’s been passion-igniting, and has seeped into other areas of my life. I’ve also saved at least a few thousand dollars, and my wardrobe has never looked better,” says Laura Jones, founder of The L&J Files, a sustainable fashion blog.
Consumer activism is an important lever to removing the forced labor behind our clothes. We’re mobilizing millennials to lead the conversation on going back to buying fewer better things. Together we #remakeourworld.
Images 1), 2) and 3) courtesy of Remake; 4) via The L&J Files, Photography by Daemian Smith and Christine Suarez