Last year we shared our thoughts on the wave of ‘the future is female’ tees that hit most high streets store. Consumers were protesting for women’s rights, whilst wearing clothes that suppress the rights of women globally.
We are shocked but in no way surprised by the Spice Girls scandal.
The Spice Girls t-shirts were set to raise money for Comic Relief's "equality for women" campaign. They were made by Bangladeshi women earning just 35p an hour and working 54 hours a week. Women in the factory were expected to sew 2,000 a day, meaning that they would have to sew 7,000 t-shirts in total to be able to purchase just one. The T-shirts are being sold for £19.40 with £11.60 supposed to be going towards Comic Relief's "gender justice" campaign. Comic Relief haven't received any of the money yet.
For us, we think the real scandal is that 63% of high street brands have no idea who made their clothes and 93% don’t know who made their fabrics. Whilst, it’s good to call out injustice, the Spice Girls are not alone in producing garments without connection or thought to who made their clothes.
The long hours, low wages and vulnerability to physical and sexual abuse in the fashion industry disproportionately impacts women, all in the name of producing more and producing faster for global brands. It is often the poorest that are most vulnerable and left to carry the weight of global supply chains. People deserve to be paid fairly and have access to basic human rights, no matter where they work.
There is a huge rise in brands offering buy one share one products or giving proceeds to charity. Our products don’t give the same instant impact guilt free purchase value, but they create radical systematic change.
It’s not always ‘sexy’ to create systematic change, but for us we aim to create clothes that work with producers to eradicate the need for charity support. By paying people fairly, on time and in community, people thrive. We want to grow supply chains that do good globally.
We have seen the incredible movements, led by women and for women within the fashion industry in India and Bangladesh and we are determined to support them in that. Kalpona, who leads the Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity, was 15 years old when she had unionised 90% of her factory and hasn’t stopped training women in their labour rights since.
Charlotte, our founder, with Kalpona Akter and Anjali
Anjali, who founded our partner factory Mandala in India, intentionally hires women so she can offer training, free healthcare appointments and help them set up their own bank accounts.
These are the women feminism and charity tees should be supporting. Ensuring that women at every stage are supported and protected means that transparent, organic and Fairtrade tees can be plastered with feminist slogans and really mean something.
We are excited to see people’s voices becoming less like fireworks and more like candles. Passionately advocating for slow continual change, rather than exploding for a week on social media and forgetting all about it (let’s not forget this Spice Girls expose happened not that long ago with the Ivy Park Beyonce range). We firmly believe that until brands have transparency, there will be no accountability or long term change.
Explore fashion revolution to discover ways to advocate for transparency or browse our site to shop brands with purpose.