Universally recognised and a staple item for most, T-shirts are perhaps the cheapest and easiest type of clothing for people to design, manufacture and sell, meaning that they're produced and consumed at the rate of knots. In this way, the humble t-shirt has become a cornerstone of the fast fashion industry.
Fast fashion T-shirts can be cheap to produce but they can be sold for hundreds or even thousands of pounds. This is quite an outrage when you consider the poor conditions of those employed to make them. In 2014 Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband wore t-shirts with the slogan “This is what a feminist looks like”. But they were called out when an investigation found that they had been produced in a Mauritian factory "where female machinists sleep 16 to a room". Sadly this type of situation is all too rife in the fashion industry.
Whilst this story highlights the conditions that t-shirt workers experience all over the world, it also highlights the consumer's role in this situation. The politicians wearing these, in this case, ironically exploitative designs, failed to ask one simple but all-important question: 'who made my clothes?'.
In this guide we cover some companies that are asking that question and have detailed knowledge of their own supply chains, a situation that is rare in the wider clothing industry.