London Fashion Week protest for garment workers

By agency reporter
September 12, 2014

Protesters will today (12 September) take action to mark the opening of London Fashion week with the message “Don’t mention the garment workers”.

Activists are highlighting an event which, they say, promotes the creativity of the UK’s fashion industry, but is silent over the millions of workers who produce clothes for high street chains, often working long hours on poverty pay in unsafe conditions.

The demonstration, organised by the anti-poverty charity War on Want, is taking place in view of London Fashion Week’s opening nearby at Somerset House.

Just before the catwalk shows begin, campaigners are sending the message to London Fashion Week “Don’t Mention The Garment Workers”.

London Fashion Week is promoting itself as big business, says War on Want, stating that orders estimated at £100 million will be placed during the event. The minimum wage for clothing factory staff in Bangladesh – where brands such as Primark and Next source clothes – is only £42 a month.

The demonstration will also raise concerns over garment workers in developing countries who work up to 14 hours a day. Large numbers of them suffer physical and verbal abuse and live in slum housing, says War on Want.

War on Want senior campaigner Owen Espley said: “London Fashion Week is a glittering showcase for the fashion industry. But fashion’s dark side is kept in the shadows.

“The British Fashion Council would rather we all forget about those who often work long hours, on poverty pay, in unsafe conditions to produce the clothes we love.

“We can love fashion, but hate sweatshops and want a fashion week that lives up to its responsibility to all the workers who make the fashion we buy. The time has come for London Fashion Week to mention the garment workers.”

[Ekk/4]

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