80% of our fashion is made by women who are only 18 – 24 years old. Sadly we only hear about these women when terrible tragedies occur, be it the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh in 2013, the horrific fire at Ali Enterprises in Pakistan in 2012, or Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York in 1913.
The hopes and dreams of the women behind our fashion are eclipsed by heartbreaking headlines that hound the fast fashion industry.
Made in Pakistan is the story of two incredibly resilient women who make our clothes. They don’t want our pity. They want us to know them. We hope this short will move you to care about them and ask #whomademyclothes.
“I am 22 years old and wanted to be a doctor. Then my father got sick, so here I am, many years later, still at a factory stitching college sweatpants and hoodies that go to America. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I used to be shy and scared in the factory environment. But after all the injustices I’ve seen happen here, I’ve become a labor organizer. I go to management to demand that we are not harassed, paid on time, given proper food to eat. You would not believe the things I have seen. Stitching all day long my mind wanders and I think about you often. You having fun, wearing these hoodie on campus. I wonder if you think about me ever? The woman who made that for you. I am taking English classes at night. So that one day I can at least get an office job.”
“After my husband left me and my infant daughter, I had to find ways to care for her and my aging parents. So here I am, many years later working at a garment factory. As I pull threads out of hoodies and do the final inspection, I sneak glances at the clock. My days are long and I miss my daughter so much. The other women on the line help me get through my days. We share secrets and the grief that is buried deep in our hearts. When the sun starts to set, its my favorite part of the day because I get to go home to my daughter. I don’t have very many dreams of my own anymore. I just hope for a better life for my daughter. I often imagine university students hanging out, wearing the hoodies that I helped make. I hope you know that my daughter and my life are woven into the threads of your hoodie.”
Making of the film
Made in Pakistan is a part of Remake’s Meet the Maker series. We traveled and visited fabric mills, factories, dormitories and homes throughout the world in search of the women who make up fashion’s supply chain. So far we’ve been to Haiti, India, Pakistan and China, to sit down and eat meals, and to listen and learn about the triumphs and the heartaches of the women who make our clothes.
This film is personally very meaningful to me. I was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. I have for the last decade worked across brands, factory managers, government and unions leaders to invest in the lives of the people who made our clothes. We were fortunate to have partnered with an amazing Pakistani film crew. Our cinematographer Asad Faruqi and producer on the ground Haya Iqbal were thoughtful and persistent in capturing this story (and their recent documentary A Girl in a River has just won an Oscar!).
We hope you enjoy a glimpse into Lubna and Rubina’s life and think about them the next time you put on a hoodie or a pair of sweatpants.