Pop Around Town : Ethical fashion: Part II

【明報專訊】In my last article, I brought up the tragedy of the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh as a wake-up call that in spite of the trend of making "ethical fashion," disregard for welfare of garment workers in the developing world still exists. In the wake of this disaster, questions were specifically raised about the ways in which Western fashion brands and retailers may have been complicit in the exploitation of millions of women workers around the world. In this global industry, which is estimated to be worth US$3,000 billion, there are thousands of supplier companies and middle-men, contractors, and subcontractors, all of them relying on the labour of 60-75 million workers, about three-quarters of which are women. Underneath the feel-good rhetoric of ethical fashion, how does the industry ensure that it is making clothes that avoid exploitative, dangerous, or unsustainable labour and environmental conditions?