Fashion and Ethics: Why Should I Care and What Can I Do?

When discussing the issue of ethicality in the clothing industry, one may have images of sweatshops and child laborers in developing nations toiling all day in inhumane conditions. Although this image may seem extreme, it is a very real aspect of our current garment and fashion industry practices worldwide. Sweatshops from Bangladesh to Cambodia routinely pay their workers less than $1.20 per day for their work. This is not a living wage, even in poverty stricken communities. The chronic underpayment of garment industry workers creates a cycle of poverty in already struggling communities, in turn contributing to other social issues resulting from poverty such as lack of access to education, health problems, and prostitution. Sweatshops are not only present in developing nations but are also a growing problem in the United States.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in recent years roughly 11,000 U.S. based factories were cited as violating workers rights and not paying laborers a minimum wage. This shows the problem of human rights violations in textile and garment factories is not only an international problem but a domestic problem as well. Additionally, many companies touted as being ethically made have had numerous sweatshop scandals. When it comes to clothing ethicality we must learn to be active, not passive, consumers of information.”

Same Thread: Ethical Fashion Providing Economic Opportunity

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