I would expect for you to have seen, heard and possibly even have read some kind of news regarding the garment factories in Leicester that fast fashion retailer Boohoo use. If you haven't where have you been? This subject is close to everyone across the world because everyone has at some point shopped from Primark, H&M, Asos, and even Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing.
Have you ever thought about how they make a dress for £25? Really?
Lets work this out ...
If the UK minimum wage is £8.72 and the UK living wage is £9.30, how can a garment worker only be paid 16p per garment? I can tell you that very few garments take less than an hour to sew up for even the most skilled of machinists. You will have heard that garment workers in Leicester were being paid £3 per hour, if they even got paid. How would you feel about earning 63% less than the UK living wage?
The news about garment factories in Leicester being operated under illegal practices brought fast fashion brand Boohoo into the spot light for having garments made in the factories. After firstly denying any knowledge of the use of the factories, yet having spoken about it in the Environmental Audit Committee report November 2018. Boohoo have said that "..licensing is needed to stop rogue businesses from accessing the market.." and that this should cover "..protection of workers from forced labour, debt bondage and mistreatment, ensuring payment of the UK minimum wage, sick and holiday pay.." Any brand, business, company person or government can say good things but the truth is in the action. With this it has been indicated that Boohoo will shift 40% of it UK production overseas if there is increased scrutiny that leads to the closure of the factories and rising costs. Now I do not know about you but that screams double standards to me!
Labour Behind the Label are an organisation fighting for garment workers rights. Find out more here.
Acas is a confidential call line for anyone worried they are not getting paid a proper wage; 0300 123 1100
MFO run the Garment Worker Diaries sharing such detailed insights into the life of a garment workers from all corners of the world. (Though the world is round right?)
The guardian have been great at reporting the facts around the atrocities of 5 Leicester garment factories. The more this type of reporting happens and the more we can share the reports, then change will be taken seriously and action will happen. Read more from the Guardian here.
Transparency is limited in most brands but it shouldn't be thought of as a secretive task. Supply chains should be celebrated and at Couchman Bespoke we can tell you it all. We are also working with Retraced to show you the supply journey of our shirts in map and icon form. Are you curious of where your garments come from? Let me know what you think.
If you didn't know Couchman Bespoke is a one woman show, with help when I can afford it £££ I always like to be transparent about this though have been told a bit of bravado helps against the big boys in business :) I have so many big plans to better the industry, which get jumped around amongst real life journeys.
Thank you for reading and taking all the action you can as a human person. Together a single action builds to a movement and system change. Ask #whomademyclothes , say #boowho , #wearyourvalues , sign the petitions and write to the brands C-19 #payup / Boohoo / Trutex for school uniforms / plus many more through Clean Clothes Campaign /
All whilst shopping with conscious for people, planet and animals.