Lululemon might have the trendiest shopping bags around (and some of the comfiest leggings), but I won’t be shopping there until I start to see their production line match their professed ethics.
Two days ago The Guardian released a story revealing what’s really going on in one of the billion-dollar company’s Bangladesh manufacturing factories, and it’s anything but “being kind.” Multiple women garment makers in the factory have now given detailed accounts of how they endure physical violence and workplace harassment, all while working to make a monthly wage that is less than the cost of one pair of Lululemon’s leggings.
Along with accounts of being slapped in the face and chest, workers have reported that they are called “whores” and “sluts” by their factory managers, have been forced to work overtime to make manufacturing quotas, and face verbal and physical abuse for leaving work early when sick.
What makes this entire atrocity all the more ironic is that Lululemon recently partnered with the United Nations on an innovative program that seeks to aid humanitarian workers on a global scale. So I have to ask: how can Lululemon be concerned about the physical and mental health of aid workers while they simultaneously overlook the actual women producing their own garments?
I’m hoping that Lululemon will step up to the plate to immediately fix this problem and take a hard look at the rest of their production factories to ensure that this type of treatment doesn’t continue to happen under their watch — but until they do, I’ll be buying my leggings somewhere else.
3 Athletic Apparel Brands to Shop at Instead of Lululemon
Still in need of some new athletic wear? Not to worry! Here are three sustainable brands that have received Remake’s Seal of Approval.
Patagonia has long been a force in the movement of ethical fashion. In 1999 Patagonia joined President Clinton’s task force to end child labor and improve garment-factory conditions globally. Before Patagonia places an order with any factory, a social responsibility team makes a visit to the factory to confirm that the working conditions are safe and ethical.
“We are responsible for all the workers who make our goods and for all that goes into a piece of clothing that bears a Patagonia label.” — Patagonia
prAna is concerned with closing the gap between living wage and minimum wage, and their Fair Trade Certified™ garments directly support their factory works and the farmers producing the materials. The factory workers actually own the brand’s Community Development Fund, and they are given a voice about how that money is spent through a democratic voting system. Makers can vote for things like healthcare, onsite pharmacies, and educational programs.
“Since prAna became the first North American apparel brand to produce Fair Trade Certified™ clothing, we have given back $400,000+ to 33,000+ workers worldwide.” — prAna
Organic Basics is one of the most transparent companies when it comes to factory conditions. On their website you can actually virtually visit each production factory the company works with around the world and check out their ethics. From Turkey to Austria, you can look for yourself to see how many people the factory employs, the amount of hours worked per day by employees, and the number of vacation days allotted to garment makers.
“We only work with trusted, certified factory partners – these are the good guys […] These factories also ensure that their workplace is free of child labor and forced labor, their workers are surrounded in a safe working space, paid a living wage, offered employee perks like free lunch and childcare – and of course, they are treated with respect at all times.” — Organic Basics
Help us get Lululemon’s attention! Join Remake in calling out the company on Twitter. #wearyourvalues
Images: m01229/Flickr, various brands