In the midst of COVID-19 and an economic slow down, big fashion brands have shown their true colors. Brands that espouse women’s empowerment quickly cancelled $40 billion worth of in-production or produced orders. Because of this, the millions of people who make our clothes—the majority are women—went unpaid for work they’d already done.
At Remake, our mission is to make fashion a force for good. In early March, we started hearing about companies cancelling their orders. We immediately mobilized with a coalition of labor organizing groups to launch the #PayUp campaign. Our demands are simple: We want brands to pay for already-placed orders to ensure that millions of women workers do not go hungry.
With so many struggling in this pandemic, we weren’t sure how our #wearyourvalues community (and beyond) would respond…
Would they care? The answer was overwhelmingly, “yes.”
Thanks to the support of over 267,000 individuals, including Qeep Up’s Maggie Q, nineteen brands have publicly promised to pay up. The #PayUp campaign has unlocked $22 billion globally, accounting for more than half of the $40 billion in cancelled orders.
Many women could now recoup their wages. This is the power of citizens coming together.
While we continue to fight for the women who make our clothes abroad, we also examine the LA garment industry. Our Made In America film takes you into multiple Los Angeles clothing factories, talking to local garment makers, designers, and a labor conditions inspector to see what it’s really like to manufacture in America.
As we see in the film and with Qeep Up, it’s completely possible to manufacture in America and guarantee maker wellbeing. Sadly, that’s not the case for all US-made clothing. LA has also been home to many of the issues we see—whether it’s Leicester, UK; Karachi, Pakistan; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; or Dhaka, Bangladesh. Women of color make rock-bottom wages and face gender-based violence while making our clothes.
Our film is timely because there is a bill championed by Senator Durazo—The Garment Worker Protection Act—that cleared the California Senate. On July 29th, the State Assembly Labour Committee passed it with a vote of 5-1. As it goes up to final vote in the next few weeks, this bill would outlaw piece rate work. (Translation: Workers have been making our masks for 3 to 4 cents while grappling with a COVID outbreak in factories.) It will also hold fashion brands accountable for wage theft, which they can no longer hide behind layers of subcontracting.
Together, we can create a more just and equitable fashion industry.
Want to help? Here are four ways to get started:
- Sign the #PayUp petition and ask your favorite brands to #PayUp on social media.
- Sign and share the petition for CA Legislators to pass SB-1399.
- Support brands like Qeep Up that are doing more to better people and the planet.
- Follow @remakeourworld on social media and stay up to date with our campaigns as well as content by subscribing to our newsletter.