Since I became familiar with degrowth I have been looking at things more critically. Especially after joining the online master on Degrowth: Ecology, Economics and Policy, I find myself defending the need for transforming a green growth obsessed economy into a degrowth one. Recently, I started working on a project about sustainable fashion focusing on clothing, good practices and youth entrepreneurship. I was sure that presumably sustainable fast fashion practices from big companies such as Zara and H&M would not be on my list of good practices. Although they might use more eco-friendly materials and advocate for these in marketing campaigns, there is still much more to do to address the issue of sustainability and social justice, including fair wages and working conditions throughout their supply chains.
By Sarah Young for Independent - Shoppers at fashion retailer Zara have found unusual notes in their clothes from workers claiming they have not been paid for making the merchandise. Worth an estimated £8.6 billion and with more than 2,200 stores worldwide, Zara might be one of the world’s most successful fashion brands, but, once again, the retailer finds itself embroiled in controversy. According to customers in Istanbul, cries for help in the form of handwritten notes from Turkish workers have been found in the pockets of in-store garments asking shoppers to back their campaign for better labour standards and pressure Zara into paying them the wages they say they are owed, the Associated Press reports. The notes state the workers in question were employed by third-party manufacturer Bravo Tekstil, which reportedly closed down overnight, leaving workers owed several months wages. Bravo Tekstil also manufacturers garments for Mango and Next. “I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn’t get paid for it,” the notes reportedly read. But, this isn’t the first time the fast-fashion retailer has come under fire. The Spanish chain has previously been taken to task for causing environmental damage, ripping off young designers, and overlooking poor factory conditions. It was even sued for dismal working conditions and accused of both slave and child labour, as well as exploiting Syrian refugees as young as 15.
By Keegan Stephan for Keegan NYC - On Wednesday, November 4th, before temperatures in NYC dropped to 4 degrees, and the mayor warned people to stay inside unless absolutely necessary, NYC Shut It Down, the group who has been shutting down NYC for victims of police violence every week for over a year, distributed clothes to those who have no option to stay inside, even in arctic weather – the homeless. Over the previous weeks, NYC Shut It Down had accepted clothing donations and stored them at the offices of Global Revolution TV, a media collected made famous during Occupy Wall Street.
Pact Apparel offers a range of soft basics, from socks to tees in GOTS-certified organic cottons. The company has now also earned Fair Trade certification for many of its products, and is working to get certification for even more of its factories. Few American brands own factories, but rather have contracts with facilities overseas to produce the styles they design. In much of the world, wages for garment workers have stagnated or even gone down, while the cost of living goes up around them. Fair Trade certification has helped Pact better support the makers of their clothes. “It’s an opportunity for us as a brand to pay the right price for the product,” said Jeff Denby, founder of Pact. Fair Trade also guarantees that factory employees have full-time work, rather than seasonal jobs. Currently, all of the products being produced for Pact in India are certified by Fair Trade U.S.A., and the company is working with their sock factory in Turkey to also earn its certification. Denby has a background in mass-production, and previously worked at a firm that designed “everything from forks to furniture” for large retailers. He was appalled by the factory conditions he encountered while working in Asia, and concluded there must be a better way. “We don’t have to kill people to make mass-produced products.”