Unfortunately, when we go shopping, we give far too little thoughts to where our clothes are actually coming from, to who is producing them and under which conditions. Often, we are unaware of the fact that our purchase decisions do not only influence our health in a negative way, but also have disastrous consequences for workers, animals and our environment. And if we come to look on the tab in which country our new garment is manufactured after all, “Made in Europe” seems to be the warrant for fair conditions, whereas “Made in China” inevitably means exploitation. But is it really that simple?
The documentary “The True Cost” shows where our pieces of clothing originate from and what their true cost is. Nonetheless, not all the working conditions have to be disastrous in Asia and automatically good within Europe. Of course, often the risk of modern slavery is much higher in China, India or Bangladesh than in European companies. However, you will always find exceptions and there are Italian clothing productions whose suppliers suffer from worse conditions that in some Chinese brands. Similarly, some Chinese employers take care of a biological fabrication and the wellbeing of their workers, like the sustainable label LangerChen shows. Hence, it is indispensable to inform oneself about every single fashion concern individually. Principally, it can be said that the more transparent the homepage is and the more open the enterprise responds to enquiries, the more sure you can be that fair circumstances are prevailing there.
Of course, it is still often difficult to learn more precise details about the production conditions. For that reason, there are organisations like the Clean Clothes Campaign which advocates for a greater transparency in the fashion industry and puts pressure on companies which pay their suppliers insufficiently or do not recompense them after work-related injuries. Via Fashion Revolution, you can additionally ask the respective brand about who has actually produced your own item of clothing. Moreover, you will find the so-called “Fashion Transparency Index” there which reveals how much the biggest global fashion labels really disclose about their suppliers and the impact of their manufacturing on the environment and the workers. A bit of research often can be very insightful and is able to change the lives of numerous people sustainably.