UK ‘Lawsuit’ draws attention to work conditions in fashion industry

(Source: Bigstock)

UK-based brand Lawsuit has developed a one-off jumpsuit to protest unethical work practices in the fast-fashion industry. 

The “workwear couture” jumpsuit, which is made in Manchester, raises attention to poor working conditions in Bangladesh and other places.

With 500 “worker SOS labels” sewn into the front-mid panels, the jumpsuit will be auctioned off to raise money for organisations that are working to improve the conditions of overseas garment workers.   

“The problem with the original protests was that nobody knew exactly who’d created these labels, that were intended to give a voice to women making clothes in appalling conditions,” said Lawsuit’s creative director, Keith Gray. 

“But this time there can be no doubt who created these labels of protest, it was Lawsuit. The jumpsuit is intended as a piece of art, which aims to provoke questions about the treatment of workers in the fast fashion industry.”

According to Lawsuit, shoppers in South Wales reportedly saw enigmatic inscriptions on labels sewed into the necklines of clothes they had purchased from fast fashion stores in 2014. They appeared to call for assistance from the Bangladeshi women who had created the clothing and included phrases including “Forced to Work Exhausting Hours” and “Degrading Sweatshop Conditions.”

Even though the fashion industry generates close to $3 trillion annually, garment workers – 80 per cent of whom are women – continue to be paid poverty wages, often a minimal amount of AUD$131 a month.

In the factories producing the clothing sold in the UK, long hours, forced overtime, unsafe working conditions, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, as well as short-term contracts, are all frequent occurrences.

Further reading: “Huge gap”: Why retailers haven’t improved conditions for garment workers

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