Monday, 8 November 2010

Cheap Labour by Top High Street Brands "Dispatches: Fashion's Dirty Secret"

I'm watching this show on Channel4+1, its a little bit horrifying. I am shocked to find that, some of my favourite high street shops, New Look and BHS who have pledge to ensure workers work in a save and well maintained environment are contracting factories who pay workers less than half the minimum wage. These workers are employed to work in poorly lit corridors, rooms with blocked fire exists, they are under paid and still they are worked as 'slaves'.

New Look pays £1.00 or less for leggings and sells it to us for £6.99. The conditions the workers work in are atrocious, People working in Leicester work in conditions which falls bellow their own spoken standards. On their website, new look boast about their believe of safe working environment, but the people making their clothes in Leicester, work with "poorly lit corridors, and basement factors with fans as the only form of ventilation". New Look made a statement denying any direct dealings with the factory, they said they will not permit any such thing as this. After they said that they are deeply disappointed with this, and after conducting their own research, they set new standards.

Other companies that the show exposed was C&A, They delivered a statement stating that, the factory was contracted by a middle man and they were unaware of it. They claim that they will not contract them until the 'middle man' can prove an action plan to improve the working environment.

Peacocks was also one of the companies guilty to this horrific story. The factories was found making a blue blouse for peacocks. They also said that they are unaware that their suppliers had sub-contracted their clothes to be made by the specific factory and that they will do their own investigation.

Jane Norman is also part of the companies who's clothes are being made. They said that they always work with suppliers who work according to an acceptable standards. They said they will investigate these allegations and that they are truly disappointed in it.

BHS owned by Sir Phillip Green of the Arcadia clothes was also part of this disaster, Their clothes were made in this unsafe environment. They also made a statement saying that the people they contracted to make the clothes, sub-contracted it to this factory.

It seems like all these high-street fashion guru's are denying their direct association with the specified factory, and for the sake of my personal moral conscience I pray that this true. But who do we blame in these sort of scenarios, the consumer or the brand? That's for us to decide individually. But I would say the blame is on all of us. Would this stop me from shopping there, I am a shamed but i don't think so, and lets be honest neither will you.


  1. That's why some designers would argue not to buy high street because the clothes are sold for cheap the materials and labour are cheap also. Really its us as consumers to make an ethical choice but who can afford the prices?! I hope to one day but for now its not not realistic

  2. Just wanted to say thank you for the lovely comment you left on my blog!! :)
    This is such a shocking and unfortunately repeated story (primark)! I have actually worked for new look and they actually pay staff really well over here, £8.14 for just sales assistants jobs- obviously they can afford to though if they're paying hardly anything for the factory workers ...makes me feel bad :/

    after the whole primark scandal people still shopped there because the recession then hit, and people need clothes to keep warm so where are they going to get them if they can't afford desginer clothes eh!
    It's sad because its a vicious circle, if you don't buy from those stores all of the workers making those clothes won't get any money to live at all but the stores definitely need to pay them fairly for sure!!

  3. @Meg its ok i really enjoyed viewing your blog.
    But you are right, to keep those under paid workers getting at least the little money they can we need to buy these clothes.

    @BlackBarbie its unfortunate that we keep buying these clothes but i don't think that the brands will increase the money they workers get even if the increased their clothing prices, because cheap labour gives them more profit.


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