Do you know where your clothes come from?

Have you ever thought about who produces your clothes?

We all know that most of the clothes we buy are produced in foreign countries. But why do companies produce their clothes in other countries? Firstly, the laws are different in foreign countries. For example, they have lower minimum wages, more working hours are possible and child labor is accepted. Even though the global brands are making millions in profit, the workers are not paid a living wage. In Asia, over 15 million people are employed in the garment industry. The majority of the world`s garment workers are women.

Every worker has the right to earn a living wage which means that they should not work longer than 48 hours per week. They should also be able to buy food for themselves and their families, pay rent, healthcare, clothing, transportation, education and they should have a small amount of savings.

What is it like to work in the garment industry?
The workers suffer from very poor working conditions. Also the workers’ health is negatively affected, for example, the workers are exposed to gasses or they suffer from far too long working hours. Their wages fall far short of a living wage, which makes it the lowest of all industry wages. They work under very dangerous and unsafe conditions. That’s why the garment industry has been hit by various industrial accidents.

In 2013 an eight story commercial building called Rana Plaza collapsed. When cracks in the walls were discovered, the shops and the bank located in the building were immediately closed. The workers of the clothing factory were ordered to return to work the next day. The building came crashing down, 1134 people were killed leaving thousands more injured.

High price brands, like Calvin Klein, produce their clothes in Poland or the Czech Republic, but “made in Europe” is no guarantee for good working conditions and fair wages. Including overtime working hours and bonuses, the average wage per month in the Czech Republic is € 417. In Poland it is even worse because workers are only paid € 315 per month. According to a Czech worker, supervisors tell them that they have to work overtime or else they won’t approve their request for holidays. (source)

Let`s act now
The Clean Clothes Campaign, an organization which was established in the Netherlands, is represented in 15 European countries including Austria. It has a partner network of 250 organizations around the world. This organization wants to improve the lives of garment industry workers. That`s why it is calling for clothing companies and brands to pay fair wages and to improve working conditions.

I think no one deserves to work under these conditions. I`m glad that there are organizations like the Clean Clothes campaign. You can sign petitions, donate to these organizations and be critical when buying clothes. I think it’s also very important to spread the word because a lot of people still don’t know under which conditions our clothes are produced. All together we can demand that the companies do the right thing.

here you can check under which conditions different brands produce their clothes

6 thoughts on “Do you know where your clothes come from?”

  1. This was a very eye-opening text! It was great that you added a lot of hard facts, that way you can really see how horrible it really is. I agree with you that these awful working-conditions have to be changed and believe that if everyone changed just a little bit about their consume, all together we could change a lot. It was a good idea to put up a link to a website where you can learn to shop more responsibly too!

  2. This is a very interesting text! Thank you for presenting the facts, now that I know more about the clothing industry, I will definitely check more carefully where the clothes I buy are coming from. I will also try and keep up with the news about the “Clean Clothes” campaign. It was great reading this text! 😀

  3. Dear Clara,
    I really like your blog text and I think you chose a really interesting topic that you yourself were very interested in too. I think everyone has already heard that most of our clothes are produced under such conditions. Honestly you can hardly escape such mass productions, unless you’ve got a lot of time and you’d have to probably buy fair produced clothes online. Unfortunately almost all big companies produce their stuff in China or Bangladesh or somewhere where it’s as cheap as possible. I think it’s great that you mentioned the organization, which you can donate to, at the end. Thanks for this awesome text!

  4. Wow!
    It is great that more and more people (just like you) start raising awareness for such an important issue. There are too many people in this world who do not think about the conditions which the workers have to face every day!
    I like the fact that you also referred to the widespread disbelief that the well-known brands do not take part in this dilemma. Of course they do – and paying a bit more for a nice t-shirt does not necessarily mean that it was produced under fair conditions. You pay for the name – not the workers!

    Personally, I think everyone should start to think about refusing to support such industries by not buying such products. This text could certainly contribute to a necessary change in the world !

  5. Dear Clara,
    what a great text about a very serious issue. You chose a very interesting topic and you seem to be very well informed about the horrible things happening in the clothing industry. I think that many people are aware of the fact that their clothes are being produced under horrible conditions. Unfortunately most people care more about having the latest trends than about the people who produce them. Thank you for mentioning the Clean Clothes Campaign at the end – when I read through it I was really shocked that hardly any company produces their clothes under fair conditions.
    Thank you for this eye opening text!

  6. Hey Clara, you definitely found a topic which immediately caught my interest and I thought that I really wanted to comment here. I have been dealing with this topic for a few years, particularly since my two boys were born because I have been thinking about the sustainability of our planet ever since. Nevertheless, reading through your lines shocked me again although I thought that I’ve gained a lot of experience in this field over the past few years. You definitely presented some points which were new to me and I particularly like that you are fighting for something of high importance for all of us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and research on this topic 🙂 Do you think that you can do something about this issue(s) yourself? I personally do a lot of sewing for example, a lot of upcycling and love buying second hand stuff 🙂 Would be interested in your ideas. Best wishes, Tanja

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