When COVID hit and stores were forced to close worldwide, it was the beginning of a butterfly effect in the fashion industry. With limitations to shopping and restrictions on moving stock, hundreds of fast fashion brands immediately cancelled their orders with their manufacturers - many of whom are already underpaid as it is.
Brands like Balmain, Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters refused to pay for their orders even though they'd already been sewn and shipped, abandoning millions of garment workers and leaving them without a wage overnight.
For people like you and me, we can cope with losing a wage overnight. We have family support, maybe a little savings, and laws in place to prevent our landlords from kicking us out if we can't pay the rent. For most of the 70 million makers who work for fast fashion brands in modern slave labour conditions, some earning as little as 19 cents an hour, it's a very different story.
When you're a garment worker living in Bangladesh, in an already overpopulated and underprivileged society, no access to healthcare, and no safety nets like JobKeeper, losing your wage overnight means weeks without food, or worse - considering the sex trade just to feed your children.
It's not good enough. It's not humane. It's not right. It's not ethical. It's not sustainable. It's not how the fashion industry was built to be.
Earlier this year, Remake stepped up and launched their #PayUp campaign, and with the help of over 270,000 petition-signing activists (aka everyday citizens who give a shit), they have successfully pushed 21 brands to commit to paying for their completed and in-production orders. The #PayUp campaign has unlocked more than $1 billion for suppliers in Bangladesh and $22 billion globally, putting food back on the table for millions of garment workers.
If you think that being 'just one person' with 'just one voice' and 'only just one signature' doesn't matter, or that 'just one' anything can't change the world, think again.
You, me, we have the power to change the environmental and social impacts of fast fashion, and we can change an entire industry when we commit.
Following the success of the #PayUp campaign, Remake are now tackling the fashion industry's engrained issues like worker safety, transparency, wages and legislation. Get involved and make a difference here.