A living wage should be a bare necessity, not a luxury, for the women who make our clothes

We’re amidst Fashion Revolution Week and as of today, the hashtag ‘fashionrevolution’ has been used nearly 360,000 times on Instagram. The world is talking about it, consumers are waking up to it, and the women who live in poverty because of it, are begging for action, but what’s actually being done about the issue of fast fashion?

It can’t be any clearer: fast fashion kills. I’m not being dramatic, I’m not falsifying the facts, I’m not embellishing the story; women in third world countries are dying because they’re forced to work in unsafe conditions for hundreds less than a living wage. Every time you buy a fast fashion garment – you’re keeping women employed in this life of danger and poverty.

If you’ve been living in denial, loving those fast fashion sales and buying into weekly trends, oblivious to the impacts of your shopping choices – it’s time for a reality check. On average, only four percent of the price of a piece of clothing sold in Australia goes towards workers’ wages in garment factories.

‘What She Makes’ is Oxfam Australia’s response to this issue. They’re tackling poverty in the fashion industry and demanding big clothing brands to pay a living wage to their workers, because no matter how hard these women work, they still can’t afford basic food and shelter.

A living wage isn’t just the bare minimum either; a living wage needs to cover food, utilities, housing, healthcare, education, clothing, transport and savings – all of the things that so many of us take for granted.

Being part of the positive change is easy, too. Start by educating yourself on the issue by watching ‘What She Makes’ and do your due diligence and research before you buy. You can also sign the Oxfam Australia pledge to let big brands know loud and clear that the women working in their factories must be paid a living wage.

Just because unethical $10 shirts are available, does not mean we have to buy them. We have the power to change the fashion industry, and every time we buy, we're saying something about who we are, what we value, and what kind of world we want to live in. 

The Fashion Advocate x

A living wage is a bare necessity, not a luxury, for the women who make our clothes

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