Children of garment workers are playing with dolls, which they made themselves out of cheap cloth. August 2009, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Images by Taslima Akhter.
In an era of awareness, a love for fashion carries with it a subliminal guilt akin to that which accompanies an affinity for road trips or print magazines. Each provides nourishment for the soul at some expense to the environment or its inhabitants. Further, the issue of conscientious fashion is complex, encompassing global warming, human rights, etc. Sustainable alternatives are always increasing but they remain a small piece of the vibrant industry pie, which makes a passion for fashion difficult to align with one’s conscience. It’s not just about buying local, organic or vintage—and it’s also not about all or nothing. It’s about knowing where your clothing comes from and being willing to pay the actual price it costs to make a garment, comprising a living wage and healthy factory conditions for workers.
As we look to 2011, an easy step to take—while still fulfilling your creative wardrobe needs—is to join the the Clean Clothes Campaign’s Urgent Action Network. By simply filling in your name, email address and country, you will receive alerts from the organization notifying you of unfair and harmful practices. For example, their most recent call to action regarded a trade union leader of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Unions who was arrested and framed for drug trafficking. Other issues involve worker safety, women’s rights and more.
Sign up now and start the year off right.
Garment worker Nurun Nahar, 21, is married but her husband is not with her anymore. It is common for husbands of female garment workers to leave a few days after getting married if they haven’t received dowry payment by then. August 2009, Dhaka, Bangladesh.