London Fashion Week: ‘Don't mention the garment workers'

12 September 2014 - 9:15am
Press release

Protesters today are taking action to mark the opening of London Fashion week with the message “Don't mention the garment workers”.

Activists are highlighting an event which, they say, promotes the creativity of the UK's fashion industry, but is silent over the millions of workers who produce clothes for high street chains, often working long hours on poverty pay in unsafe conditions.

The demonstration, organised by the anti-poverty charity War on Want, is taking place in view of London Fashion Week's opening nearby at Somerset House.

Just before the catwalk shows begin, campaigners are sending the message to London Fashion Week “Don't Mention The Garment Workers”.

War on Want senior campaigner Owen Espley said: “London Fashion Week is a glittering showcase for the fashion industry. But fashion's dark side is kept in the shadows.

“The British Fashion Council would rather we all forget about those who often work long hours, on poverty pay, in unsafe conditions to produce the clothes we love.

“We can love fashion, but hate sweatshops and want a fashion week that lives up to its responsibility to all the workers who make the fashion we buy. The time has come for London Fashion Week to mention the garment workers.”

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • All major UK brands who are members of the Ethical Trading Initiative have signed a pledge to pay workers a living wage. None currently does so.

  • London Fashion Week is promoting itself as big business, stating that orders estimated at £100 million will be placed  during  the event. This is enough to pay a month's wages for 2.4 million Bangladeshi garment workers who earn a mere £42 each month.

  • The minimum wage for clothing factory staff in Bangladesh – where brands such as Primark and Next source clothes – is only £42 a month.
  • The protest comes only days after Primark's parent company, Associated British Foods, announced over £600 million operating profit for the fashion chain in the year to 13 September.

  • It also follows hard on the heels of Next reporting £324 million profit in the six months to the end of July.

  • In addition, the demonstration will raise concerns over garment workers in developing countries toiling up to 14 hours a day, large numbers of them suffering physical and verbal abuse, besides living in slum housing.

CONTACT

War on Want media officer Paul Collins

(+44) (0)20 7324 5054 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

A Living Wage for Workers

The right to be paid a living wage is a basic entitlement of all working people the world over, whether they work in the public or private sectors, in the global South or North.

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