Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the documentary ‘Fashion Victims.’ I wanted to educate myself further on this topic being an avid online shopper so I sat down one evening to watch it. Needless to say, I was horrified by the incredibly cruel conditions in the sweatshops of Bangladesh. This eye-opening documentary focuses in particular on the collapse of the Rana Plaza Factory killing over 1,000 hard-working employees and injuring thousands more. A team of reporters traveled to Bangladesh to expose the dangerous, brutal and downright shocking conditions faced by the poor workers every single day. One by one, they visited various families and heard the truth behind their treatment. In their own foreign tongue, the workers revealed how they are physically & verbally abused by their superiors, severely underpaid and that their working environment is incredibly unsafe hence the industrial accident of Rana Plaza.
Listening to these sad stories, I could really see the physical & mental implications of working in sweatshops. One woman could barely lie down, her back was so sore. A young girl had taken the job to support her entire family but the pay was so low she struggled to cover costs anyway. I was angry that sweatshops existed at all! I was sad that I couldn’t help them. I needed to learn which brands were guilty so I could no longer put my money towards them. As far as I was concerned, purchasing such labels was not shopping ethically. The reporters mentioned the following brands and I know there are many more:
- Forever New
- Mix (Coles Brand)
- United Colours of Benetton
- Cotton On
I couldn’t understand why Australian brands would be associated with such cruelty. When the reporters went to speak to the owners of Forever New, they refused to comment. I’ll never forget the face of a husband and wife when they saw what Forever New charged for a simple T-Shirt in Australia. The retail price was something like $60 and the dumbfounded married couple responded by saying that they could’ve been paid so much more. Why were they keeping the money to themselves? There is so much greed and control in these sweatshops. Civilians are forced to work there or perish from poverty but it doesn’t have to be this way…
So how can we shop ethically?
- Research your brands before you create demand for sweatshops. If enough of us do this, hopefully we can create change for better conditions, fairer wages & kinder treatment.
- Don’t be afraid to shop in second-hand stores! You can find some amazing pieces that are affordable and ethical.
- Educate others on the subject so that more ethical brands pop up and those that are unethical rethink their choices.
- Invest in a sewing machine and start your own brand!
- Did somebody say Etsy? No sweatshops here! Just purely talented individuals sharing and selling their homemade wares.
- I’m so happy that Tree of Life are presented on the ethical shopping list. If you haven’t discovered their beautiful clothing & accessories do so now! You can also check out my Tree of Life Page to see what kinds of things they sell.
- Never fear that ethical shopping means uncool. If you’re familiar with Urban Outfitters – visit the section Urban Renewal for funky, recycled threads!
- Support local businesses!
In conclusion, I strongly recommend you watch ‘Fashion Victims’. It will really make you think twice about your purchases. There is so much that goes on that we don’t know about! Be a part of the solution, not the problem and shop ethically!
Peace & Love xxoo
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I am not being paid or sponsored for this post/products – all my thoughts/opinions are my own