Anti-sweatshops drive eyes new focus

4 October 2011 - 2:14pm
Press release


Thursday, 6 October 2011 to Sunday, 9 October 2011  | Europe's biggest textile exhibitions staged in London
Friday, 7 October 2011 | World Day for Decent Work

Activists woo Europe's top textiles show visitors

Campaigners for sweatshops-free clothes this week take their drive into fresh territory when Europe's biggest textile event includes them for the first time in its 20-year history.

The anti-poverty charity War on Want plans creative initiatives to promote fashion ethics with large numbers of people among the thousands of visitors expected at the Knitting and Stitching Show in London.

The show, which runs from Thursday until Sunday at Alexandra Palace in north London, coincides with World Decent Work Day this Friday, on which hundreds of activities will take place around the globe in over 50 countries, such as Britain.

In the Knitting and Stitching show, games will enable players to have fun while learning the facts behind sweatshops, where workers supported by the charity's partners in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka toil up to 16 hours a day for well under a living wage.

The games feature in the show's latest innovation, the Upcycling Academy, a space to spotlight the growing trend that sees people turn old clothing into new garments.

This space will offer the public a chance to pose for photographs on a catwalk wearing clothes they have upcycled at the show and buy their pictures for only £2, with the money going to help War on Want partners fight for living wages.

And War on Want will also run a stall in the academy where visitors can find out more about the charity's backing for Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans who are paid a pittance as workers for suppliers to Britain's high street fashion retailers.

Nadia Idle, activism and outreach officer at War on Want, said: “This high profile show will allow us to reach many visitors with the campaign to end the exploitation of sweatshop workers by UK brands. Thousands of young women have already joined our Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops campaign, calling on the British government to stop this abuse. I hope that hundreds of visitors will join our call for fair wages and conditions for the people who make our clothes.”


  • War on Want will join forces at the Knitting and Stitching Show with the charity TRAID (Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development), the recycling group Craft Guerrilla, the textiles gallery, shop and studio Fabrications, Sue Russell from Wool n Dance, and Sissy Rooney, founder of Street Style Surgery, a social enterprise which runs workshops for young people on sustainable fashion. The show takes place from Thursday to Sunday at Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY (nearest tube station: Wood Green). Visitors can buy tickets on the door - £14 for adults, £13 for over-60s and £6 for children aged four upwards
  • The TUC will mark World Decent Work Day on Friday with two events. It will hold debates from 10.45 am to 4.00 pm on domestic workers, the G20 summit in Cannes next month and a Robin Hood tax on banks' financial transactions to tackle poverty and climate change. The debates will take place at the TUC's headquarters in Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS (nearest tube station: Tottenham Court Road). And at 7.15 pm the TUC and Philosophy Football will stage the show Stand Up for Decent Work, featuring comedians Isy Suttie and Llewella Gideon, as well as north African beats from Fernando's Kitchen and a DJ set by Melstars:Music. The venue is the New Red Lion theatre, 271-273 City Road, London EC1V 1LA (nearest tube station: Angel). Tickets are price £16 with supper, and £10 without supper.

CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media officer (+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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