Do You Know How Much Garment Workers Really Make?

By Fashion Revolution

5 years ago

By Irene San Segundo

This is the question Barret Bard, CEO of fashion and accessories brand ABLE, and Patrick Woodward, founder, and CEO of shoe brand Nisolo started to ask themselves. More specifically, how much do the lowest-paid employees in their companies make. And that includes the shoemakers in Perú, the sewers in Ethiopia, and the jewelry makers in Nashville, to name a few.

According to these brands´ research, only an estimated 2% of fashion workers around the world are paid a livable salary and with the initiative to publish their companies’ lowest wages they are aiming to protect the people making their clothing, and encourage other brands to do the same.

“By asking one very clear question (“What’s your lowest wage?”), this campaign is calling for some much needed moral clarity to what is actually taking place in the lives of people who make the clothes we put on our bodies”, says Director of The True Cost Andrew Morgan. “I am hopeful it will bring about a new and needed conversation across the larger industry.”

And how do we know what a living wage actually means for the workers? According to ABLE, this is determined based on local prices for housing and utilities, transportation, food and water, healthcare, childcare, education, and savings. Also, considering resources from international organizations such as MIT Living Wage Calculator, Wage Indicator, or Trading Economics, and also from the data they gathered through their partnership with Goodops, a consultancy that works with brands to help them transform their supply chains and logistics networks to a more sustainable model.

You can see the full campaign on this video and ask brands to join the challenge on social media using the hashtag #LowestWageChallenge