Responsible Fashion Roundup

The Social Alterations team is constantly coming across interesting content from a wide variety of sources. This is a curated selection of thought provoking reading we’ve done in the past month related to responsible fashion.


§ Bangladesh’s garment sector woes made the New York Times twice in the last two months (granted, the first article was not published in September but it is very relevant and I highly recommend it):

Export Powerhouse Feels Pangs of Labor Strife

“As Bangladesh garment workers have seen their meager earnings eroded by double-digit inflation, protests and violent clashes with the police have become increasingly common (NY Times).”

Fighting for Bangladesh Labor, and Ending Up in Pauper’s Grave

“The murder of a labor organizer bore a grim familiarity in a country with a brutal legacy of politically motivated killings (NY Times).”


§ It’s September and you know what that means in Uzbekistan. Once again, we see a mass mobilization of the Uzbek population to pick cotton. The Washington Times published an update on this year’s cotton harvest. We’ve covered this topic before on SA and we’ve also included Uzbekistan as the first station in our SAGE module where we also highlight the impact of the cotton industry on the Aral Sea. Vice places this into a wider context discussing the political implications of water scarcity in Central Asia.

Uzbek government breaks promise to end child labor in cotton fields

“Uzbekistan’s prime minister pledged last month to end child labor in the country’s cotton fields. But as the harvest season gets under way, human rights activists say children as young as 13 are being put to work under grueling conditions, despite extreme measures to recruit adult labor (The Washington Post).”

Is Central Asia on the Verge of a Water War?

“[A] new kind of conflict is rising in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan that could eventually lead to the first water war of the 21st century (Vice).”


§ In textile news, FastCompany writes about the startup Modern Meadow and the possibility of lab-grown leather which takes BioCouture to a whole new level. Is this the sustainable alternative to today’s vegan leather?

In Five Years, You May Be Wearing A Lab-Grown Leather Jacket

“Modern Meadow–a lab-grown meat startup–is getting closer and closer to growing leather in a test tube. But that’s just the beginning. Why grow regular leather when you can use your lab to make leather better? (FastCompany, Co.Exist)”


§ Speaking of vegan shoes, EcoSalon has decided to take a closer look at Melissa Shoes. Their conclusions closely resemble ours posted three years ago here & here.

Behind the Label: The sustainability claims behind Melissa Shoes

“Melissa shoes are widely assumed to be eco-friendly. However, they are made from PVC, which is widely known to be one of the most environmentally unfriendly plastics (EcoSalon).”

As Public Enemy said…


§ And of course, everyone likes money, money, money! TreeHugger does not disappoint in this post on industry stats, but along with the economics of fashion, TH provide a small glimpse into the social aspects so often ignored….all with links to learn more!

25 Shocking Fashion Industry Statistics

“So many clothes, so many staggering statistics (TreeHugger).”


Nadira Lamrad

Nadira is the co-founder of Social Alterations. She is currently completing her final year as a PhD Candidate at City University of Hong Kong.

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