you pay more for clothing, do workers on assembly lines and in cotton fields
automatically get paid more?
retailers such as Primark, Tesco and Asda are generally held up as the villains
of the industry: accused of driving wages and working conditions down through
their desire to sell clothes at extraordinarily cheap prices. Buying expensive
clothes is often suggested as an ethical option... However, a high price tag is
no guarantee of ethical practices.
high-end brands … have been highlighted in a recent Clean Clothes Campaign
report on conditions in the “Euro-Mediterranean textile cluster” – the former
Soviet countries of eastern Europe plus Turkey.
It is low minimum wages that draw corporations to the global south.
Burberry’s decision to close factories in Britain in 2007 and relocate
manufacturing to China was driven by cost based analysis – it wanted to make
£1.5m a year more in profit. Profit depends on companies maximising the
difference between a garment’s sale price and its production cost. High-end
retailers and the luxury sector can appear to exist outside of this system –
shielded by ideas like craftsmanship and design, but behind the gloss is the
same dirt. The same factories and same working conditions.