Art from Chitral made its way to Milan Fashion Week, and while its a proud moment for Pakistan, it also raises the issue of big fashion houses stealing work from designers from third world countries. There’s a need for the world to shut up and think about ethical fashion.
While the United States and the European Union have laws in place to protect local textile and garment workers, and those in the fashion industry, but the same doesn’t apply to overseas workers.
Case in point, this Pakistani woman’s design ending up in Europe:
From Chitral Pakistan to Milan Fashion Week. Enough for Motivation Proud to be Pakistani ❤️😍 pic.twitter.com/t0SK7X7dYR
— Bleed Green (@bleedgreenarmy) November 11, 2019
Recently a Chitrali woman’s craft made it’s way to Milan’s fashion week and the debate of ethical fashion has resurfaced. Rural workers with their various handicrafts aren’t even paid the bare minimum in many cases.
So when one woman’s artwork went from Chitral, Pakistan to Milan Fashion Week ,we’re questioning is she was paid a decent amount.
Some people didn’t understand the whole ethical fashion debacle and shrugged it off as no big deal. Yet this is a huge deal, especially for countries like ours, where many brands outsource to.
The reason the fashion industry put so much emphasis on ethical fashion is due to the Rana Plaza tragedy back in 2013.
The Plaza was being used in a factory, despite the obvious threat to the safety and human rights. Besides that, all the workers were being paid a bare minimum for manufacturing.
While fast fashion brands are like Zara, H&M, etc are known for affordable prices. Many fast fashion brands sell their items at regular designer prices.
Fast fashion brands are common culprits in this regard but what about runway brands, like this example of a Chirtali woman’s craft in Milan Fashion Week? We might have hope because the designer collaborated with these women to take this tribal art to Milan Fashion Week.
Why This Matters
The brands outsource work to countries where labor is very cheap because the laws don’t protect the garment workers. The clothes are produced with the lowest possible amount, and get sold at incredibly cheap prices in “rich countries”.
Even at the incredibly cheap prices the brands still make profits due to unethical practices like labor rights abuses. Meanwhile, brands reap massive profits.
This is why it matters that garment workers like this woman from Chitral get paid a decent amount. No one’s asking brands to hand over their profits. They’re just being asked to pay labors enough to afford living expenses.
After the Rana Plaza incident, 200 companies signed the Bangladesh Accord to ‘protect workers’. What about other countries these brands outsource to like Pakistan, India, China, Philippines, etc?