Originally posted on April 14, 2015 by Katie Metzger for GodSpace—
“Look at the clothes you are wearing right now…
Would you believe that 80-90% of what you are wearing was made in inhumane, unsustainable conditions? Well, the sad fact is, this is most often the case. Sweatshops are not a thing of the past. Buying well-made, high end clothing does not mean that it is made in any different conditions than Old Navy or Walmart clothing. This is hard to swallow, and as someone who loves fashion and also believes that all people bear the image of God ,it can seem too overwhelming to even think about. However, information and acknowledgement is where change begins. So why should you care about where your clothing comes from and what can you, practically, 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.”
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