Undress Runways has just launched a powerful campaign called Is This Real. It shows us that child labour in the garment and textiles industry is really going on. In the video young Australian children are shown dire images of kids the same age as them who are caught up in child labour overseas. When asked what they think of these images shock, disbelief and sadness is printed across their young faces. It is difficult, almost impossible for them to contemplate that this is real and they only want to send the children in the images love and support. The children have so much empathy and it very much hit home to me when one of the boys sees a picture and tries to imagine what life is like for another young boy working hard in the factory.
“I want to know how he actually feels about himself. And what’s he imagining… And what he wants to do instead of just sewing and stitching.”
Not one of us would ever want to take away a child’s dreams on purpose. But sadly, while we may not be the human beings directly sending these children to work, by turning a blind eye we are leaving them there.
One of the biggest reasons that these children are being put into these positions is because manufacturers are under so much pressure to produce huge quantities at the low price and rapid rate demanded by retailers.
But of course, this business model exists because the consumer demand is there. We are so driven by price these days and we are the ones demanding excessively cheap products. We simply must reconsider how much clothes should cost and how often we need to buy them. You may feel hopeless watching this video, and not even know where to start in terms of helping these young children. But the simplest thing you can do is shift your consumer demand.
There was a time when women had one beautiful Sunday dress and they wore it until it broke. They could wear the same outfit twice regardless of whether or not they were photographed in it. Reconsider whether you need that fast fashion piece or a last minute evening outfit in future and do your best to research and purchase from ethical retailers.
I’m not saying that we should all stop enjoying fashion, however we need to do our best to educate ourselves on ethical fashion and to shift our mindsets, reconsidering how much we really need. We don’t need fast fashion as much as these young human beings need a childhood. How beautiful would it be for all of these children to be able to imagine a world outside of the factory; a world where they can imagine exactly “what they want to do.”
To learn more I recommend you visit Intent Journal and also check out the Good On You app, which provides a simple rating system enabling you to locate ethical retailers. Head over to the official Undress Runways website for more information about the current campaign and their sustainable fashion runway shows.
You can also look through the gallery below for just some of the beautiful ethical brands and labels out there to shop from in the future.
Feature image is from UNICEF: Child labour in the fashion supply chain. Where, why and what can be done.