Can you be a fashion lover and a feminist at the same time?
It was a sorry day when the news dropped earlier this year that my childhood idols, the Spice Girls, had been flogging tees made at a factory in Bangladesh where women earn the equivalent of 35p an hour during shifts in which they claim to be verbally abused and harassed.
To add to the ultimate crime against 30-something year old women who still identify as Sporty, Posh, Ginger, Scary or Baby, these t-shirts were part of a campaign sold to raise money for Comic Relief’s “gender justice”. Since most garments are cut and sewn by female factory workers in the developing world, where working conditions are poor and labour rates are low, this was particularly hard to swallow.
While until recently transparency has scarcely been associated with fashion retailers, we now have much greater access to information, a responsibility to do our research and we are slowly uncovering their dirty secrets. According to Labour Behind The Label approximately 80% of garment workers are women aged 18-35 and the conversation around feminism and fashion is getting louder than ever before.
With this in mind it’s time to start asking….can you be a fashion lover and a feminist at the same time?