How do I know if my kid's clothes were made in a sweatshop?
Buying a well-known brand unfortunately doesn’t guarantee that their products aren’t made under socially unacceptable or illegal working conditions. It’s often also difficult to learn about the conditions of production for specific garments. Labels will display the country of origin, but not details about the factory it was made in.
Thanks to growing consumer awareness, the concept of fair labour is steadily gaining momentum and consumers are demanding that products have been ethically made. It is up to all of us to care about whether or not your favourite children’s clothes were made in a sweatshop, here are some easy ways to make sure:
- Strikingly low prices
While price isn’t an exact indicator, it can be a red flag suggesting a product may be the result of sweatshop labour. When you factor the time and materials that go into making a piece of clothing: fabric, sewing, printing, labour, finishing, packaging, freight and taxes, strikingly low prices signal that somewhere along the manufacturing process someone has not been paid properly.
- Check the website
You can tell a lot about a brand from the information they share online. Examples of sections to look out for include ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’. Ethical brands are transparent brands and will often include detailed information about the factories they work with, and where their raw materials are sourced.
- Ask them
If you can’t find the information you need online, reach out to the brand directly. A simple message like “Hi, I love your brand, but I’m worried about unsafe working conditions. Can you tell me more about where your clothes are made?” may be all it takes to encourage them to be more transparent. Responsible brands will be easy to get in contact with and will be happy to respond.
You might also be interested in reading our blog post ’5 shocking facts about sweatshops’.