Category Archives: Labour Behind the Label

Coming Up // The Six Items Challenge

The Six Items Challenge kicks off again in 19 days! The challenge begins on September 7th, overlaps with London Fashion Week (September 14th-18th), and concludes on October 7th which just happens to be World Day For Decent Work. How fitting!

The challenge:

It’s quite simple. Just pick six items from your wardrobe (not including workout gear, undergarments, socks, shoes, and accessories) and wear only those items for one month. I’ve attached a few photos of some of the items chosen by previous participants. Click on the photos to read more about their choices.


The goal of the Six Item Challenge is to bring awareness to the consequences of our fast-paced trend-driven cycles of  fashion consumerism. Labour Behind the Label explains:

“For workers in the garment industry ‘fast fashion’ is a millstone.  The drive to increase profits and get products into our high street shops faster and faster to satisfy an insatiable desire for new trends; the drive to sell more, consume more, make more, waste more unfortunately doesn’t mean that workers are paid more for making our clothes.”


How does this bring awareness to these issues?

“It’s a great talking point – friends and family will be fascinated to find out why you’ve set yourself such a crazy goal!”

If you would like to take this challenge a step further, you can also get sponsored for your efforts and help raise funds to support garment workers fighting for their rights. The fundraising website can be found here.

If you’d like to know more about the challenge, check out their website where they have a great blog featuring posts from the previous cycle of participants and a hints and tips page to help you get started. Good luck with the challenge!

LEARN // Playfair 2012 Campaign launches new teaching resources

The Playfair 2012 Campaign has launched with new cross-curriculum teaching resources for learners aged 9-14.

Lesson ideas and activities make links between different subjects including art and designcitizenshipEnglishgeography and maths. By using this pack, pupils can develop their understanding of why decent working conditions are part of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to end poverty, and take practical actions to help make the world a fairer place.” (Playfair 2012 Campaign)

We’ve reported on the campaign in the past, recommending teachers utilize this interactive online game in the classroom.

New resource materials include:

  • 10 lesson plans
  • 14 activity sheets
  • 4 colour photo cards
  • a DVD

Educators can order material directly from the campaign, or download the education packages, activity cards and pamphlets.

The campaign coalition is made up of Labour Behind the Label, the Trades Union Congress, the International Textile, Garment & Leather Workers Federation, the International Trade Union Federation, the Clean Clothes Campaign, Maquila Solidarity Network and Clearing the Hurdles.

Source: @playfair2012 

READ // Let’s Clean Up Fashion 2011, Labour Behind the Label reports

Labour Behind the Label has released a new report, Let’s Clean up Fashion 2011: The state of pay behind the UK high street (LCUF).

With respect to a living wage on the high street, this is the 5th edition in a series of LCUF reports from LBL.

The findings have ranked Levi Strauss and Gap Inc. with a score of 1 out of 5 (along side H&M, and others), while Zara, Monson and NEXT were found with the highest scores at 3.5 out of 5.

According to LBL, initiatives taking living wage seriously must be grounded by four essential pillars:

  1. Taking a collaborative approach
  2. Worker organizing and freedom of association
  3. Examining commercial factors paying the cost
  4. Rolling it out: developing a route-map for sustaining a living wage

The fact is that workers do speak out to demand better wages. At best they are often ignored; at worst they are persecuted, threatened, dismissed or harassed. Companies must do more to ensure respect for trade union rights in the quest to provide a living wage for garment workers.” (Labour Behind the Label, Let’s Clean Up Fashion 2011: Pg. 1)

Readers who have followed LBL’s LCUF reports in the past will likely be surprised to see Gap Inc. with such a low score, considering the company received one of the highest grades in the 2009 report. According to LBL:

Gap plans to work on developing good management and human resource systems with suppliers, which are needed. However, Gap supplied no evidence of plans to translate this work into real wage gains for workers. More worryingly, it states its intention to focus mainly on the achievement of compliance with minimum wages. This shift seems to suggest Gap has given up any plans to work towards providing living wages to workers in its supply chain altogether. We hope this isn’t the case.” (Labour Behind the Label, Let’s Clean Up Fashion 2011: Pg. 28)

LBL has created on online petition calling on Gap and H&M to do more. Click here to take action.

For readers on twitter who’d like to spread the word, here are some suggested tweets via LBL:

  • Which highstreet brands are doing most to improve pay & conditions for workers? Find out from Let’s Clean up Fashion:
  • Who’s ethical on the highstreet?  Find out in the NEW edition of Let’s Clean up Fashion: @labourlabel
  • Enough to feed your family – too much to ask? Gap & H&M seem to think so. Take action to ask them to reconsider:

Click here for company profiles and scores, and here for advice from LBL on where to shop.

Week of Action on Killer Jeans, Labour Behind the Label

Like that faded denim look? Think again…

Labour Behind the Label (LBL) has launched a week of action today (May 30th – June 6th) to raise awareness on the dangers of sandblasting, a deadly hidden narrative of denim production.

“The sandblasting technique aims to remove the dark indigo pigmentation from the garment. Propelling a stream of abrasive material (sand) against the fabric under high pressure gradually softens and lightens the denim.” (LBL, Killer Jeans)

Visit to take action, hear company responses (communication and implementation) and learn what you can do to help ban sandblasting in denim production internationally.

Fast Facts on Sanblasting, via LBL Killer Jeans Campaign //

  • Sandblasting as a process is typically outsourced to unregistered third party facilities, proving it difficult to monitor
  • Without proper ventilation and worker protection, crystalline silica dust particles are inhaled by workers
  • Linked to Acute silicosis, a fatal lung disease
    • Garment workers in Turkey, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Syria, Indonesia and countries in northern Africa, are at risk—with little information on worker safety

Click here to view an Animoto by Anna McMullen at LBL on how to take action.

PLAY// Labour Behind the Label, PlayFair: Online Game

Okay…. I’ve just found the most amazing online game, educating players/learners on the realities for workers inside factories where basic human rights are violated each and everyday.

Teachers! Get this game inside your classroom! This is an amazing educational resource, with every single aspect of the game based on real stories. Players are invited to click on “What’s the story?” with each incident to learn more on the issues, such as poverty wages, forced overtime, disposable workers, and union busting. You can also hear form the workers themselves, through worker opinions.

After playing for only a few minutes, I (a factory worker sewing hats for a generic/unidentified sportswear company) was overworked, underpaid, threatened, stressed, assaulted, punished, docked pay, and at last, too fatigued to work. Throughout the game, the boss was screaming at me. I was told that I was unable to use the bathroom, that talking was prohibited, and that I wasn’t working hard enough!

Elements of this game are reminiscent of a chose your own adventure, as workers are prompted to make unbelievably difficult decisions throughout their shift—decisions that could render them unable to support themselves or their families. There is, however, one major difference: there is no real choice for these workers—they are slaves to an unforgiving system of violence and corruption.

Readers, I am at a loss for words! Well done Label Behind the Label!