Monday, 15 November 2010

Dispatches: Fashion's Dirty Secret

I've just come back from a romantic trip to Venice and I was planning on putting up a few outfit posts and general holiday snaps but instead I thought I would write about what I'm currently watching, which is arguably more important than me prancing around in front of the Rialto bridge.

After getting back from the airport minus M, who has gone off on a business trip to Germany, I thought I would catch up on some telly when I came across Dispatches: Fashion's Dirty Secret. The documentary, which aired last week, investigates the working conditions in UK factories that supply the likes of New Look, Topshop and Peacocks (these links will take you to the ethical polices for each brand).

From what I'm seeing the main issues seem to be subcontracting within approved supply chains and while the point of the documentary is to be 'hard hitting', having seen documentaries like this before, I am not as shocked as I should be that this kind of labour is taking place in Britain.

Most savvy shoppers will have seen the likes of BBC Three's Blood, Sweat & T-Shirts and be aware that cut-price fashion can come at a cost. I wrote a post about cheap frills myself earlier this year and have become increasingly aware that in the fashion industry, words like 'ethical' and 'organic' are bounced around with little care.The shock factor with this film is that the long hours, poor working conditions and barely-there wages are happening to workers in Leicester.

Most of the brands approached for a comment either denied all knowledge of the work and/or agreed how it contravened their ethical trading policies. It's hard to love high street when a programme like this shoots down brands such as New Look, which I had always naively assumed was sounds its fashion responsibilities.

Take a look and see for yourself what the real cost of a £25 jumpsuit or Breton t-shirt is and have a read of Ethical Trading Initiative website where there are details on New Look's reaction and response to the film.

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