Last year challenged the status quo in the fashion industry when it came to legislation. Activists and changemakers turned away from merely asking brands for transparency, allowing another mode of change to take center stage: fashion policy. The enactment of the Garment Worker’s Protection Act (SB62) in California paved the way for collaboration between activists and lawmakers, and for new policies, such as the FABRIC Act. And this wasn’t the only example of conversation being lifted to governing bodies — here’s what we’ve seen, as noted in our 2022 Fashion Accountability Report.
Passed legislation Protects human rights & catalyzes more bills
In 2021, more than 100,000 Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities were placed in forced labor camps in the Xinjiang region of China. It was discovered that the global textile industry was connected to the forced labor camps, thus fastening fashion’s international supply chain to another instance of exploitative labor.
In a win for a more just future of fashion, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) went into effect in the United States in June of 2022.
However, in a win for a more just future of fashion, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) went into effect in the United States in June of 2022. UFLPA is one of the most significant labor-oriented laws to go into effect in the US since the 1930s and demonstrates that it is possible for companies, governing bodies, activists, consumers, and lawmakers to collaborate to create positive changes in the fashion manufacturing industry.
Other wins for fashion in the U.S. have included the introduction of the FABRIC Act in 2022, a bill which has garnered support from over 100 companies, including Reformation and Everlane. This worker-driven legislative package would hold fashion brands accountable for workplace violations and set an hourly minimum wage in apparel manufacturing.
Binding Agreements Around Worker Safety
Another such victorious effort has been the the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry, an essential health and safety measure for garment makers that includes factory inspections and a worker complaint mechanism. Out of the 58 brands reviewed by Remake in the 2022 Fashion Accountability Report, the following 17 companies have signed the International Accord: Adidas, American Eagle Outfitters, ASOS, Bestseller, Boohoo Group, Fast Retailing, Hanesbrands Inc., H&M Group, Intidex, Marks & Spencer, Missguided, Next, Primark, PUMA, PVH, River Island, and Zalando.
Although 183 companies have signed the Accord, several American brands including Levi Strauss & Co., Target, Ralph Lauren, Patagonia, and others have yet to sign onto it. With the Accord’s recent expansion into Pakistan, Remake has launched a petition to push for more brand support from some of fashion’s biggest names.
One brand commits to a Buyer Code of conduct
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, clothing companies canceled upwards of $40 million in clothing orders already in production, causing a wave of layoffs and a hunger crisis among garment makers. These order cancellations shined a light on the unfair commercial practices present in fashion manufacturing.
Three years later, brands are still canceling orders that are in production. Reports show that U.S. companies Kohl’s, Macy’s, Target and Walmart canceled billions in orders this past year. Additional reports show that ASOS, Boohoo Group (Nasty Gal, Pretty Little Thing) and Missguided were accused of canceling orders at their factories in Leicester.
Danish company GANNI strengthened its commercial practices by committing to a Buyer Code of Conduct, which promotes responsible purchasing practices within its purchase order contracts.
It is apparent that stronger contracts are necessary in order to ensure fair prices, fair payment terms, and fair commercial practices overall. In 2022, Danish company GANNI strengthened its commercial practices by committing to a Buyer Code of Conduct, which promotes responsible purchasing practices within its purchase order contracts — making it a leader in the space of ethical commercial practices.
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