“Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops” mini protest banner project

20 Aug “Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops” mini protest banner project

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Written by Lorna McBride, Manchester based Craftivist and volunteer Communiations Assistant

Apart from drooling over the clothes what will you be doing this London Fashion Week? Wanna join us in our “Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops” mini protest banner project?

The aim of the mini protest banners is to provoke people to care about their neighbours on the other side of the global fashion industry. We can think it possible that there is a world where people are paid a fair price for their hard work, and that they are able to work in conditions where their rights are respected whilst making beautiful clothes. Surely brands can still turn a profit while aiming to make this a reality for workers around the world? Fashion needn’t have an ugly side.

We would love you to join our workshop below at the awesome upcycling and ethical fashion craft shop Fabrications. But if you can’t you can still get involved wherever you are in the world:

WHAT Mini protest banner workshop on the topic of Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops

Run by Craftivist Collective founder Sarah Corbett, at the workshop you’ll learn how to stitch a mini protest banner on the ethics of fashion. You will also learn about the history of Craftivism and have a safe space to talk about how we all Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops.

WHEN Sunday 9th September 2-4.30pm

WHERE Fabrications shop, gallery and studio. 7 Broadway Market, Hackney, London E8 4PH

HOW MUCH The workshop is free, although donations are welcome to cover the cost of materials and to help the Craftivist Collective stay sustainable. Materials and refreshments provided.

Book your place at the workshop here http://craftivismlovefashionhatesweatshops.eventbrite.com/

Love Fashion, want change?

To mark the start of London Fashion Week 2012, the Craftivist Collective is inviting fashion lovers to create their own mini protest banner aimed at exposing the ugly side of fashion.

It’s that time of year again, London is buzzing with fashionistas, designers and those eager to see the latest catwalk creations from London Fashion Week. You can be a fashion lover and also care about the ethics behind your clothes and the rights of the garment workers who make them (we do!).

For the past few years Craftivist Collective members have been making mini protest banners featuring thought provoking statistics and facts surrounding the fashion industry, in the hope of encouraging people to think about the workers behind the clothes. The banners are then hung around venues, buildings and fashion hotspots during London Fashion Week as public art. In no way is the project intended to denigrate the hard work of designers or fashion houses. Most members of the Collective are avid fashion lovers, and you know our own Sarah C is never without a copy of Vogue to thumb through. We love seeing the creativity and beauty of the fashion world and the talents of those are constantly pushing the boundaries and creating new designs. It reminds us how beautiful this world can be…

but we struggle with the ugly side of fashion- the mistreatment of the people behind the clothes: the garment workers who are working tirelessly in sweatshops, working extremely long hours for very little wage to live on.

Ugly Side of Fashion

I have just spent the duration of the Olympics appreciating how our Team GB Athletes could compete so well in their events, while at the same time looking so stylish wearing the designs of an iconic British designer Stella McCartney. It nearly makes me want to go on a run but… not quite! And let’s not forget we have the Paralympics to look online pharmacy forum forward to and more of Stella’s designs coming up in London Fashion Week!

But I was disgusted and shocked to learn reports from the organisation War on Want about the inhumane treatment of Adidas garment workers abroad. Adidas workers are struggling to survive on well under a living wage in the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and China. Yet the amount of profit Adidas make (Adidas net profits = £529 million in 2011) really makes it hard to see how they can’t give their workers a living wage but they can give their designers and CEOs enormous amounts. Shockingly, it would take a Chinese worker 3000 years to earn Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer’s total earnings of £4.8 million for 2011 alone.

It is not just Adidas, there are many large brands that could drastically improve the level of respect of their workers human rights. “Kate Middleton’s favourite stores, Reiss: £8.5m profits. Reiss garment workers in Romania: 99p an hour.” (War on Want)

It’s way too easy to think sweatshops are a problem we have no control over. It’s often and sadly too easy to ignore because often the destination of our clothes is so far removed from their origin that we can push it to the back of our minds. Please join us in celebrating our love of fashion and fighting for an industry without an ugly side -sweatshops. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if LFW 2013 was sweatshop free clothes? Let’s fight together for that reality one stitch at a time! :)

The ‘Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops’ campaign from War on Want sums it up best:

“…in spite of widespread awareness of the issue, it is not always clear what practical steps members of the UK public can take to end sweatshop labour abroad. Asking companies to regulate themselves hasn’t worked. Boycotts have only led to further job losses.”

That’s why we’re encouraging people to use Craftivism in the form of mini protest banners, as a non-threatening method of drawing attention to the issue and provoking people to think about how they can make a difference.

“Real change can only be achieved through government regulation that protects the rights of workers supplying UK companies. War on Want is leading the biggest ever call to end the exploitation of workers. We are demanding that the government regulate the business practices of UK retailers to ensure that overseas workers are guaranteed a living wage, decent working conditions and the right to join a trade union. David Cameron must commit to government action.

This is a big job – change won’t come overnight. But it’s also a necessary one. Together we can end the injustice of sweatshops, and ensure the dignity of workers everywhere.”

What message would you put on your banner?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnB_UW7IgqQ&feature=colike]

Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops Mini Protest Banner Workshop

Run by Craftivist Collective founder Sarah Corbett, at the workshop you’ll learn how to stitch a mini protest banner on the ethics of fashion. You will also learn about the history of Craftivism and have a safe space to talk about how we all Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops.

Book your place at the workshop here http://craftivismlovefashionhatesweatshops.eventbrite.com/

WHEN Sunday 9th September 2-4.30pm

WHERE Fabrications shop, gallery and studio. 7 Broadway Market, Hackney, London E8 4PH

HOW MUCH The workshop is free, although donations are welcome to cover the cost of materials and to help the Craftivist Collective stay sustainable. Materials and refreshments provided.

2 Comments
  • Have you spotted any Mini Protest Banners at London Fashion Week 2012? | Craftivist Collective
    Posted at 18:14h, 16 September Reply

    […] After 9 days my banner is still up! I made this mini protest banner with help from War on Want who gave me up to date facts to use. This fact impacted me the most- how can a company selling not-cheap clothes double their profits (with the help of free advertising from Kate Middleton who wears Reiss clothes a lot) in a year but still pay their garment workers less than £1 an hour? I was worried picking this quote to cross-stitch on that people would think “£1 an hour? That’s pretty good” but it’s not! Yes it might be better than Mauritian workers getting 21p (!) but it’s still abuse. We’re not trying to demonise Kate Middleton as a consumer or Reiss as a brand, check out our previous blog here with full details of the project. […]

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