New focus for anti-sweatshop drive

By agency reporter
October 5, 2011

Campaigners for sweatshops-free clothes are about to take their drive into fresh territory when Europe’s biggest textile event includes them for the first time in its 20-year history.

The anti-poverty charity War on Want plans creative initiatives to promote fashion ethics with large numbers of people among the thousands of visitors expected at the Knitting and Stitching Show in London.

The show, which runs from 6 - 9 October at Alexandra Palace in north London, coincides with World Decent Work Day (7 October 2011), on which hundreds of activities will take place around the globe in over 50 countries, including Britain.

In the Knitting and Stitching show, games will enable players to have fun while learning the facts behind sweatshops, where workers supported by the charity’s partners in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka toil up to 16 hours a day for well under a living wage.

The games feature in the show’s latest innovation, the Upcycling Academy, a space to spotlight the growing trend that sees people turn old clothing into new garments.

This space will offer the public a chance to pose for photographs on a catwalk wearing clothes they have upcycled at the show and buy their pictures for only £2, with the money going to help War on Want partners fight for living wages.

And War on Want will also run a stall in the academy where visitors can find out more about the charity’s backing for Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans who are paid a pittance as workers for suppliers to Britain’s high street fashion retailers.

Nadia Idle, activism and outreach officer at War on Want, said: “This high profile show will allow us to reach many visitors with the campaign to end the exploitation of sweatshop workers by UK brands. Thousands of young women have already joined our Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops campaign, calling on the British government to stop this abuse. I hope that hundreds of visitors will join our call for fair wages and conditions for the people who make our clothes.”


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