While we speak of high street retailers let’s remember the people who died one year ago at the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh.
To freshen up your memory I highly recommend this touching interactive web docu by The Guardian. You can decide the pace of the clips yourself while at the side bars the creators present facts in an innovative way.
The web is full of discussions about production conditions in the garment industry, but I don’t really see word spreading to the streets. Well, we should be concerned because bad conditions don’t just happen in lands far far away. Retailers like Primark are taking it up to the next level and continue their exploitive philosophy right here where you live.
In order to become even cheaper than for example H&M, wages and conditions in stores are low, too. (More info in this German docu) And that is where teenagers or students work… Nice concept…not! : get them to work for less and by luring them with fast fashion, let them reinvest the money right away in your company again!
Yes, to a certain degree the costumer is to blame as theoretically he is in charge to decide where he takes his money. But actually it is a misconception to think he is free in this decision. On one hand many people just have no time to inform themselves and then source out what not only will suit their personal needs but also meet ethical standards. I try that very often, sooo time consuming! In most cases companies simply just take advantage of the fact that humans behave in a special way and lead us into shallow consumerism. People are so detached from the whole process of production how can anybody expect them to do the right?
Also companies want us to believe that the ‘greedy’ costumer is demanding low product pricing. But that is simply not true. Nobody asked for cheap clothes which even won’t stand one wash cycle. We were perfectly fine with store concepts before and people would be willing to pay more. But have you seen shopping streets these days? There are only stores of big corporations and no matter if high street or middle sector brands, their garments come from the same manufacturers somewhere in Bangladesh or China and similar. There is little and less choice. And I don’t think that like 100 Euro for a jacket probably produced under slave conditions is cheap. Sure, it’s less than I would pay for a designer piece but at the end not that bargain… It is the companies who insist on their high margins! No matter how high or low the price at the end companies keep their margin and often this is much higher compared to actual design brands. No wonder haute couture and even prêt-à-porter make their main money through accessory business.
As governments still fail to do their job and set a regulatory framework, informed costumers have to push the more. Besides supporting local and fair brands you can always tweet or message companies via Facebook, we all know social media is very powerful. Or take part in campaigns like Fashion Revolution Day and petitions on change.org just follow them and be on track.