Skip to Main Content

Fashion and Ethics

This guide provides an introduction to fashion and ethics, providing a wide array of resources (articles to podcasts), and a select group of case studies at the intersection of fashion and ethics.

Labor Justice

Introduction to Labor Justice

"The US$2.4 trillion garment and footwear industry, employs millions of workers worldwide. Clothes and shoes produced in countries in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe or other parts find their way into the clothes racks in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australia. Labor abuses in factories that produce these clothes and shoes are rife. In countries around the world, factory owners and managers often fire pregnant workers or deny maternity leave; retaliate against workers who join or form unions; force workers to do overtime work or risk losing their job; and turn a blind eye when male managers or workers sexually harass female workers" (Human Rights' Watch).

How to change the garment industry? | Bangladesh Accord

For decades garment companies have made empty promises to create working conditions for the workers that make their clothes. But nevertheless in 2013 over 1,100 workers died in the Rana Plaza factory collapse and labour rights violations continue throughout the supply chain. The only way to create real change is through binding agreements and regulations, as shown by the successful work by the Accord on Fire and Building Safety after the collapse.

Garment Me Too Campaign

This campaign is led by women trade union leaders in order to win concrete solutions and contribute to  new international labor standards and ultimately create power building roles for supplier unions, allied unions, women’s organizations, human rights organizations, and consumers in brand supplier producing and retail countries.

#GarmentMeToo story of three women working for H&M in Sri Lanka and how they were abused.

The Fabric ActPhotograph of group of people in a factory.

The Fashioning Accountability and Building Real Institutional Change (FABRIC Act / S.4213), introduced in the Senate by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and in the House of Representatives by Carolyn Maloney (NY), would protect nearly 100,000 American garment workers and revitalize the garment industry in the United States by improving working conditions, reforming the piece-rate pay scale and investing in domestic apparel production.

Sign the petition here.

What She Makes

The women who make our clothes do not make enough to live on – keeping them in poverty. Despite long hours away from their families, working full time plus many hours of overtime, big clothing brands do not pay garment workers enough money to cover the basics of life – food and decent shelter.

Oxfam’s What She Makes campaign demands big clothing brands pay the women who make our clothes a living wage. Together, with your voice demanding action, and Oxfam’s direct engagement with brands, we urge clothing companies to take the crucial next step in creating a fairer fashion industry.

More campaigns from Clean Clothes Campaign here.




Fashion and Prison Labor with Teju Adisa-Farrar

Is it a “sustainable” brand if it’s made in prison? Unfortunately this issue is more common than we may think. This class looks at the history of prison labor and colonialism connected to economic domination, the types of garments made in prison and the brands that (have) use(d) prison labor, including some “sustainable” one. What does prison abolition mean for the fashion industry?

The True Cost

This is a story about clothing. It’s about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?