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Let's Clean Up Fashion

Sep 15

Written by:
15/09/2008 12:41  RssIcon

A survey of the state of pay at 27 top fashion brands.


In September, the third update to the annual survey ‘Let’s Clean Up Fashion’ was published by the campaign group Labour Behind the Label. It was launched just before London Fashion Week and rates 27 high-street stores on their progress towards ensuring workers in their supply chains earn a living wage.

According to the report, many people who make our clothes live in poverty, usually earning just half of what they need to meet their basic needs and those of their families. And, ten years since the bulk of the industry signed up to the principle that all workers should earn living wages, little has been done to make that principle a reality.

No brand or retailer is systematically ensuring that workers in its supply chain earn a living wage. Over half the retailers that responded to the survey were however able to cite specific actual or planned projects that were aimed at raising workers' wages. Here is how the high street breaks down.

Two cheers: work to increase wages but not enough yet
Five retailers - Monsoon Accessorise, Gap, Marks and Spencer, Next and New Look - say they plan detailed projects to improve pay, though the latter four are focussing on productivity improvements.

One cheer: mention of work on living wages but unconvincing so far
Five more – Sainsbury's, Asda, Primark, Tesco and Arcadia (Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Topshop, Topman and Wallis) – claim they will do something, but lack concrete information.

No work to speak of on living wages
Of the retailers surveyed – those with the biggest market share – ten admitted they had no plans to do anything about garment employees’ poverty wages. These are Clarks, Debenhams, French Connection, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Laura Ashley, Matalan, Mosaic Fashions, River Island and Levi Strauss & Co. But Levi’s has decided against work on a living wage.

Nothing to say at all
Seven retailers did not respond to the survey or make any information public - Alexon, Bhs, Burberry, Ethel Austin, MK One, Peacocks and Stylo.


Download the 50 page report for full details.




5 comment(s) so far...

Re: Let's Clean Up Fashion

Glad to see my 2 favourite retailers are in the best category of the lot (which is not much really), though a shame they're not doing more. Disappointed to see Clarks down there as not interested (yet!) as having just bought a pair of shoes from them. And surprised to see John Lewis at the bottom as well.

By Jo on   20/09/2008 23:00

Re: Let's Clean Up Fashion

To quote from the John Lewis website:

"...Our founder's vision of a successful business powered by its people and its principles defines our unique company today. The profits and benefits created by our success are shared by all our Partners."

But no-on else, apparently. Having started my working life earning £1.12 an hour on a Waitrose deli counter, I can confirm that non-partners don't get much of a deal. It's still a very poor show and shows up their PR spin for complete balls.

By Michael on   25/09/2008 18:19

Re: Let's Clean Up Fashion

Clark credits his desire to help others to his Quaker roots. "The philosophy is to work hard and try to make money but not to use it to show off ostentatiously but to try and help others and behave in an ethical fashion," he says.

Clark is also involved in the ethical shoe brand Terra Plana, which is run by his son Galahad. The business has two stores and an internet site and is in talks to bring in backers to fund expansion. The pair also back Vivo Barefoot, which uses modern technology to give the feel of walking without shoes.

By Rob Shaw on   03/10/2008 15:04

Re: Let's Clean Up Fashion

Sorry - I meant to say 'that's odd' about Clarks given the following...

By Rob Shaw on   03/10/2008 15:05

Re: Let's Clean Up Fashion

These retailers really need a kick up the bum ...

By Sarah on   27/11/2009 13:47


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