The Fashion Industry Moving Forward: It is Time to #PayUp

Exposing the Injustice

You’re probably thinking about how the retail industry at large has coped during these unprecedented times. To put it simply, fast fashion brands have been managing just fine, but at what cost? It is no secret that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. According to Creative Bloom, the fashion industry not only puts a huge amount of pressure on our planet, but also on the garment workers that are creating our clothes. This leads me to my next PSA if you will, addressing the damages caused by fast fashion brands during the lockdown.

Image: @chicksforclimate, Instagram

The atrocities committed by fast fashion brands have well and truly been exposed to the public over the last few months. Big brands continue to produce high levels of stock, urging the public to buy online. This has meant many factory workers have had to return to work and make large quantities of garments in dangerous work conditions, which could be compromising to their health and wellbeing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Justice and Progress Online

The #PayUp campaign, launched by Remake on 30th March 2020, was a direct response to the news that these fast fashion brands were allowing production in factories to take place. Not only this, but a lot of these brands have also made the decision not to pay their suppliers or garment workers during these uncertain times. It’s not uncommon for brands to take this route. Brands typically will only pay for products once they’ve been shipped. The problem is, the labour from these vulnerable garment workers has already been done. 

Image: @remakeourworld Instagram

COVID-19 has resulted in many cancelled or delayed shipments, therefore, no payments have been made. “A drop in demand for clothing resulting in cancelled orders is hitting those at the bottom of the supply chain hardest – garment workers are going unpaid, losing their jobs and facing destitution, or are being forced to work without adequate protection against the virus.” (Stitched Up Team, 2020)

Recent reports made by Remake state that an estimated 50 million garment workers will be impacted as a result. (Ilchi, 2020). These workers need to be compensated appropriately. Those who labour for these clothes do not have the same privileges and rights as those who can afford to buy them. This is exactly why Remake’s #PayUp campaign is so important. The #PayUp petition was made on 3rdApril, demanding brands to take ownership and pay workers and factories for the labour they’ve incurred.

The worst hit countries have been Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Cambodia. Countries where minimal wage is already a contentious issue.

Image: Shahzaib Akber/EPA

Progress for the Future

Since its initial launch, the petition has gained over 180,000 signatures and will most likely continue to increase over the coming weeks. According to Remake, since launching this petition, 16 brands have now agreed to pay for back orders. It is estimated that the #PayUp campaign has helped unlock $7.5 billion in unpaid orders globally. If that isn’t progress I don’t know what is.

A global online campaign to address the problems so overt within the fast fashion industry has definitely been a highlight during the lockdown. Holding fashion brands accountable for their wrongdoings will hopefully set an example for other brands moving forward.

Useful Resources

If you would like to sign the petition, please do so with the link provided below:
https://www.change.org/p/unless-gap-primark-c-a-payup-millions-of-garment-makers-will-go-hungry

These are a few other helpful resources and websites which are all contributing to the support of the #PayUp campaign. These are great resources to further educate on the brands which still need to be held accountable, as well providing additional petitions and calls for actions to protect those most vulnerable.

Support Garment Workers.Org
https://www.supportgarmentworkers.org/payup-fashion

Stitched Up
https://stitchedup.coop/campaigns-3-ways-to-help-garment-workers-right-now/

Steps Moving Forward

Image: @wearconsciously Instagram

Through all of this, it makes you wonder whether fast fashion is really all that worth it? What you save on cost is added on with the corruption, exploitation, and the ongoing labour disputes between big fashion houses and extremely vulnerable garment workers. The moral dilemma is embedded in us all. Its whether we actively decide whether or not to contribute to the problem or to shed light on its wrongdoings and spend our pennies on garments which don’t come with a side of labour exploitation. I know which side I’m choosing. How about you?

While strides have been made and progress has been seen, we’re not out of the woods yet. Here’s what you need to do: continue to pressure brands to #PayUp until money has been exchanged. Many brands have been quick to sign this petition but haven’t actually paid workers yet. If there’s a loophole, you can be sure that brands will take advantage of it. This campaign has exploded online, and it can only continue gaining traction if people like you allow it. Keep the #PayUp alive and well.

Sources

Creative Bloom. (2020). “Brighton Sustainable Fashion and Local Choices”. Creative Bloom. Retrieved from https://www.creativebloomrocks.com/marketing-blog/brighton-sustainable-fashion-and-local-choices
[Accessed 18th June 2020]

Remake. (2020). “#PayUp Tracker”. Remake. Retrieved from
https://remake.world/stories/news/payup-brand-updates/

[Accessed 18th June 2020]

Ilchi, L. (2020). “#PayUp Petition Calls for Major Fashion Companies to Pay Garment Factories”. Wwd. Retrieved from https://wwd.com/fashion-news/fashion-scoops/online-petition-major-fashion-companies-pay-international-garment-factories-struggling-coronavirus-pandemic-1203555672/

[Accessed 18th June 2020]

Stitched Up Team. (2020). “Campaign // 3 Ways To Help Garment Workers Right Now”. Stitched Up. Retrieved from https://stitchedup.coop/campaigns-3-ways-to-help-garment-workers-right-now/

[Accessed 18th June 2020]

2020. Workers At A Garments Factory In Karachi. The Textile Industry Is The Largest Manufacturing Industry In Pakistan. [image] Available at:
https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/0bb9185308c127dad192c90c588acf73ae00273d/22_0_4884_2931/master/4884.jpg?width=605&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=b15a8133314dca20f4493635c33937de
[Accessed 22nd June 2020]

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