Tag Archives: Apparel

LEARN // Educational resources to follow fashion and think through protest


In light of the four year anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse (April 24th), as well as International Workers’ Day (May 1st), I thought it would be a good time to share some new educational resources related to fashion and responsibility.

Ian Cook et al. of followthething.com have launched a free online course through FutureLearn: Who Made My Clothes? The 3-week course is designed to help learners think through systems of global fashion and apparel production and consumption, and to consider new ways of engaging with global supply chains. Here is the course introduction video explaining what’s on offer:


In an earlier blog post I shared a few thoughts on alternative forms of protest, highlighting Sarah Corbett and the Craftivist Collective. I mentioned that the School of Gentle protest would be launching soon…and it has! The course has already gone live, but you can still follow-along and participate. There are six classes, each with short video lessons, recommended readings and weekly assignments. For more information on these, see here and here. Here’s an introduction to the course:

I think what’s most interesting (and exciting) about these two initiatives, is that they strive to get learners interested in alternative forms of engagement. While so many responsible fashion education and campaign actions focus on consumer-based (user) approaches to change, these initiatives offer the potential to move things further, leaving space for learners to think through systemic challenges related to fashion and apparel production and consumption. The result is that learners are able to curate their own activist toolkit, with or without consumer-based strategies and actions.

The Social Alterations ‘Mind Map’ is one of our key resources designed to help you dig through to the root causes and consequences of a particular issue or challenge. We’d recommend keeping this resource on hand and using it in conjunction with the Who Made My Clothes? course and The School of Gentle Protest. You’ll find that resource for free in our Lab, here.

And with our Mind Map in hand, here are some additional resources to check out:

And of course, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out all of the resources we have developed over the years. You’ll find these all available to download for free in our Learning Lab.

Happy learning everyone, hope it all leads to some creative disruption!

Garment worker wages: select reports on trends and analysis from 2014

ILO 201415 Global Wage Report


The International Labour Organization (ILO) has just released their 2014/2015 Global Wage Report. While the report is not specifically focused on garment worker wages in fashion and apparel systems, it does overview global trends and highlights wage gaps, and I think it’s a good one to read through and bookmark to keep on hand.

With the report, the ILO has included a couple of short video clips explaining key terms, such as real wage and labour productivity, average wage and PPP$.

ILO videos re 201415 Wage Report

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) published three reports in 2014 relating to wages for garment work in the fashion and apparel sector:

Living wage in asiaStitched up 2014

Tailored Wages 2014

And of course, this worthwhile read from the CCC and the Asia Floor Wage in 2009 remains highly relevant: Stitching a Decent Wage Across Borders.

Stitching a decent wage across borders










Click here for the full list of CCC publications.

What resources have you turned to in 2014 for trends and analysis relating to garment worker wages? Share in the comments below, or let us know via Facebook and/or Twitter.


Resources // NPR’s Planet Money Makes a ‘Simple’ T-shirt

Planet Money showing just how little the industry has changed.

Planet Money showing just how little the industry has changed.


Planet Money:

What would you like the people who buy this t-shirt to know about you?

Doris Restrepo, Garment Worker, Medellín, Colombia:

What is behind the T-shirt: It’s a world.

NPR’s Planet Money has released a five chapter series on the production of a conventional t-shirt. This series is an excellent educational resource and is perfect for ‘flipping’ into a short course on our international fashion system. The videos and accompanying articles would also make a fantastic addition to any of SA’s educational resourcesparticularly the SAGE module where we traced the international production of a hypothetical t-shirt from the farm to the landfill and beyond into it’s second-hand life.

Introducing: Planet Money Makes A T-Shirt from NPR on Vimeo.

Inspired by Pietra Rivoli‘s The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade, Planet Money actually hired the Georgetown Professor as an advisor for this series. Needless to say, I highly recommend the The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy as further reading to help gain even deeper insight into the value chain of a ‘simple’ t-shirt. 

This series is an absolute must for anyone interested in the fashion supply chain as a whole and the political, economic, and social issues that surround the production of clothing.

Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt: The world behind a simple shirt, in five chapters

READ // Manufacturing governance: global norms and policy diffusion – the case of the Chinese apparel industry, by Nadira Lamrad



I am so thrilled to share with you that Nadira’s article “Manufacturing governance: global norms and policy diffusion – the case of the Chinese apparel industry” has been published in the Journal of Asian Public Policy, Volume 6, Issue 2, 2013.

Special Issue: Market Building in Asia: Standards Setting, Policy Diffusion, and the Globalization of Market Norms

You will likely have to access the article via your university library, and access it you must! Below you’ll find the article abstract and keywords. Please share this important research with your networks.

If you have any questions about the article, or about Nadira’s research in general, please do not hesitate to get in touch with herManufacturing Governance - Nadira Lamrad


Fair Wear Foundation awarded UN grant to support garment workers in India and Bangladesh

The Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) has been awarded a grant by the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund).

Working in India and Bangladesh, the three year grant will be used by FWF and four partner organizations (SAVE and Cividep, in India, and the AMRF Society and Awaj Foundation in Bangladesh) “to implement innovative new strategies to reduce workplace violence against women in the garment industry.” (FWF)

The benefits to women of a workplace without violence are clear and immediate, and an issue of respect for fundamental human rights. (Erica Van Doorn, Director of Fair Wear Foundation)

According to the Fair Wear Foundation, “[r]ecent research estimates that 60% of women in the garment industry have experienced some form of harassment, verbal abuse or physical abuse. Indiaand Bangladeshboth have legal frameworks to prevent and address workplace violence, however full implementation of these laws in the garment industry has been hampered by several factors, including the complexity of apparel supply chains.” (FWF)

To learn more about the FWF, check out their newly released 2010 annual report.

Oxfam International // Supporting garment workers through education and engagement

You know Oxfam as a leader in global humanitarian efforts—working toward poverty reduction, advocating and campaigning on behalf of human rights, leading the fight against unregulated international arms trade (all the way to the UN, with Arms Trade Treaty negotiations expected to close in 2012), promoting gender equality, health and education, responding to both chronic and acute social, environmental and economic crisis…the list goes on.

What you may not know is that Oxfam is also committed to supporting systemic change with respect to the labour rights of garment workers internationally through education and engagement.

Here are some of the exciting projects they’ve been working on—all excellent for use in the classroom:

While her name has been changed to protect her family and to ensure her job security (‘Sewani’ is an abbreviated word for ‘seorang wanita’ in Indonesian, meaning ‘woman’), her story is real: “I hope that by sharing this story people can have some image of the workers that are making their shoes. Some image of who we are and what our lives are like. I’m sure our conditions are really different with those who can afford to buy the shoes we make. Who knows, when they understand our conditions, they might speak out for us. We also want to live in better conditions.” (Sewani) Readers can send Sewani questions and leave comments on the blog.

By answering these FAQ’s, Oxfam has empowered educators, consumers, designers and proprietors alike to think critically about their role in the global apparel supply chain.

  • Oxfam Australia has run several successful campaigns in support of decent work, driving change through an online actions centre dedicated to worker’s rights.

Workshop //Sweatshops – 70 minutes

Lesson Plans:

No Sweat – Grade 9 Lesson Plan

No Sweat – Grade 10 Lesson Plan

No Sweat – OAC Geography Lesson Plan

No Sweat – OAC Poli Sci Lesson Plan

Oxfam GB has created a 25 minute assembly designed to educate students on the hidden narrative of labour taking place behind the brand, factory conditions and worker’s rights, cause and consequence of cheap labour and ways to take action. Materials include Assembly Slides, (in PowerPoint) and Supporting Notes (PDF).

Oxfam GB has also created a series of lessons that follow the cotton supply chain in India:

Background information about cotton, trade and India

Photo gallery of clothes production

Lesson 1: Placing India in the world

Lesson 2: Finding out about India

Lesson 3: Where does cotton grow?

Lesson 4: Tracking trade

Lesson 5: Questioning a photo

Lesson 6: Before and after

Lesson 7: Matching captions to photos

Lesson 8: Putting photos in sequence

Lesson 9: Oral presentation

Lesson 10: Ways of working

Lesson 11: Print making

Lesson 12: Fair Trade

Extra material to support your teaching

Moving beyond the classroom, Oxfam GB has partnered with Marks & Spencer to keep clothing out of landfills: “[s]ince 2009, they have diverted over 5 million tonnes of clothing from landfill, and raised £3 million for Oxfam.” (Trewin Restorick, for the Guardian Professional Network)

So, Oxfam is not only a leader in global humanitarian relief, but also in responsible knowledge sharing and cross-sector collaboration with respect to responsible apparel.

Community News

Shifu, via Sri Threads

If a product is not considered, they call it an inconsiderate design (Lorrie Vogel, on Nike designers creating their own vocabulary, Opportunity Green)

A roundup of some of the stories, headlines, and updates you may be interested in from in and around the community of socially responsible fashion design. This week’s roundup has a ton of videos—there is a lot going on in our community!


Next: “user centered ecosystems designs”

New production method: Enslaved spiders produce huge tapestry



Does Greenwashing Exist in the Fashion Industry?

Ecotextile News

Eco-Textile Labelling Guide 2010

Ethical Style

‘18 Degrees of Inspiration’: 6 Degrees of Cool

More videos like this on www.t5m.com

My question is—will apparel brands and retailers demand new designers, merchandisers, and others who have committed to sustainability? Or will they continue hiring only those prepared to make financially cut-throat decisions for the sake of profits and margins? (Marsha Dickson, Discussion Forum: Just Style.com)

CSR Questions Arise About Project RED

Joel Makower: Two Steps Forward

Copenhagen Gets Down to Business


Discussion Forum, INSIGHT: Design education is key to sustainable fashion


Happy 100 Days to the MakeShift Project! SA had the chance to interview designer Natalie Purschwitz—click here to listen to this podcast, and others.

The Story of Stuff

Remembering Bhopal

The Story of Cap & Trade: Why you can’t solve a problem with the thinking that created it

The Uniform Project

Holiday Drive, double your donation: “eBay will match every dollar you donate during this holiday season up to $15k. If you’ve been waiting to donate, there is no better time than now.” (The Uniform Project) Click here to read more about the project.

The Uptake

Hopenhagen? No, thanks: Naomi Klein on COP15


Versace, Valentino, and Prada Packaging Supplier Cuts Ties With Rainforest Paper Producer

The Catwalk at COP15: Sustainable Fashion Design Competition in Copenhagen (Video)

Nike Considered’s Lorrie Vogel at Opportunity Green on Creating a Sustainable Design Ethos (Video)

University  of Delaware, UDaily

Fashion and Apparel Studies instructor promoting sustainability worldwide

Sri Threads

The Art of Shifu: Hiroko Karuno’s Original Interpretation of Traditional Woven Paper

Social Alterations has been in the news over the past few weeks for our upcoming interview with Noko Jeans (stay tuned!), and for Fashioning the Future:

Caution: Shameful Self Promotion Ahead!

CSR Asia

Your jeans are from North Korea

Ex-CSR Asia intern wins Sustainable Fashion Industry Award


London College of Fashion Draws Designs for the Future

Arts Thread

Fashioning the Future 2009 Awards, London

Glass Magazine

Fashioning the Future 2009