Labour Behind the Label - A Living Wage for Garment Workers?

“Fashion is made to become unfashionable” said Coco Chanel. The French designer, by the way, was working at a time when fashion adhered to two seasons a year: woollen jumpers and coats for autumn/winter and cotton frocks for spring/summer. Today fashion is as fast as a high speed train!

Are the costs of the mainstream fashion industry to the environment of millions of gallons of water used in growing, production processes, and energy consumed in global transportation really put into the equation? Or indeed the scandalous truth that that the majority of workers producing for the high street market place cannot afford to live and feed their families? A living wage is a human right.


Many of UK retailers score poorly on this front. Labour behind the Label conducted a survey last year to consider these issues. No response at all was available from Armani, Asda, Benetton, Disigual, Diesel, Hugo Boss, Levi Strauss, Replay, River Island, Sainsbury’s.

Doing next to nothing were Aldi, Debenhams, Espirit, Gucci, Mango, Matalan, Pentland,  inc. Speedo, Hunter). VF Corporation (inc Lee, Wrangler, The North Face, Timblerland) Versace.

TK Maxx are of the worst – I could go on. Check out

Supporting independent ethical shops like SUSSED is one way to help. Or join in the next Frock Swap, October 22nd.

This article was written by Sustainable Wales and SUSSED Wales volunteer Rhys Felton. If you are passionate about sustainable development, and would like Sustainable Wales to feature your work, please send enqueiries and/or submissions to .