Remake journeyed to Mexico, bringing fashion design students from Parsons School of Fashion, California College of Arts and Design and Duke University to come face to face with the women who make our clothes. Fashion activist Amanda Hearst, co-founder behind Maison-de-Mode and Remake Advisor joined the life changing peace corps for fashion journey.
The world is getting woke to the broken systems behind our every day clothes. In a recent Fast Company article, author Elizabeth Segran called out fast fashion brands for creating a use and dispose cycle. A profits over people and planet business model that not only maintains unhealthy supply chains, but burdens consumers with low quality goods and the need to spend more time and money on shopping. The article references Remake Ambassador Allison McCarthy’s piece on the clothing piling up in our landfills, that in California alone, Goodwill spends $7 million sending clothes to landfills. Yuck.
Consumers are calling for more transparency, and with women making up the majority of fashion’s workforce, consumer demand for triple bottom line business models is increasingly calling women to the forefront.
At Remake, we bring a microphone directly to her, the maker, to help her perspective be heard, and her real life be seen. In this video, hear from makers including Oliva and Sara speak directly to Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in a call for more support to their livelihoods:
“To the new president, I would say, turn to see us. That there is a sector that has been forgotten. I think he doesn’t even know that we exist. Go and talk to us. Not with the managers, not the owners. With the workers.
I think that the main problem of the factory is that they just see us as objects that produce. Not like women, not like mothers, not like sisters, not like daughters. They see us simply as the cheap labor.”
“I would tell brands to show up at the plants, see the environment, chat with people. And, unfortunately, factory work is not valued, and the work we do as seamstresses is not valued. The illness we get because of the work we do, and how we have to abandon our families. The people who use the garments don’t get to see that.”
“I think that the workers have been used as work tools. And effectively they are discarded because after 12 to 15 years of work, which is how long the average person lasts enduring hard work. Their bodies are totally sick, worn out. With problems of articulation in the fingers. In the spine, in the neck.
If the president, the labor secretary, and the international brands are interested in the health of workers, a change must be made. Because women’s lives are in their hands.”
“I would tell people who buy [the clothes we make], that the price they actually pay does not include all the exploitation suffered by these women. That the cost they pay to acquire them is not the cost of the work of the women who made those garments.”
* Starred names are changed on behalf of makers.