Over the last few months the Textile Rebels have been hard at work supporting the #PayUp movement. While great progress has been made, there is still a long way to go, so in this article we plan to give an insight into what the #PayUp campaign is, what we have been doing to support it and how you can help in the fight against injustice in the fast fashion world.
What is #PayUp?
Following a reduction in retail sales in March and April due to COVID-19, many fast fashion brands took the decision to cancel orders which they had placed with factories in Bangladesh. Despite the fact that the production of the majority of these orders had already been completed, these cancellations meant that millions of garment makers would be left unpaid for their work. According to the non-profit organisation Remake, ‘with no access to savings, healthcare, or severance, these makers face critical food and housing insecurity’. (https://www.change.org/p/unless-primark-anthropologie-c-a-payup-millions-of-garment-makers-will-go-hungry)
In response to this great injustice, Remake started the #PayUp campaign, with the aim of shedding light on the issues at hand and to demand that the relevant fast fashion companies pay what they owe.
So far, 19 brands have committed to pay in full for orders completed and in production which may previously have gone unpaid. These companies include:
Gap (Old Navy, Athleta, Banana Republic)
Levi Strauss & Co.
LPP (Reserved, Cropp, House, etc.)
Marks & Spencer
PVH (Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, etc.)
VF Corporation (Timberland, The North Face, Vans, Dickies, etc.)
However, 18 brands continue to ignore our demand to #PayUp, including:
Arcadia (Burton Menswear London, Topshop, etc.)
Edinburgh Woolen Mill (Bonmarché, Peacocks)
Li & Fung/Global Brands Group
The Children’s Place
TJX (TK Maxx, Marshalls)
URBN (Urban Outfitters, Free People, Anthropologie)
YM Inc. (Charlotte Russe, Urban Planet, etc.)
#PayUp demands that all of these companies pay what they owe to their garment workers in order to prevent any further starvation, loss of housing and to save lives.
How have the Textile Rebels supported #PayUp?
On the 4th of July, some of our Textile Rebels attended a protest on Oxford Street which targeted the stores of those companies refusing to #PayUp. It was an incredibly successful
day and the response from both the press and public was really encouraging!
We also launched a media campaign on our Instagram which addressed the sales being held by companies such as Topshop and Anthropologie, despite their continuing refusal to pay their workers. Head to our Instagram @textilerebellion to check out the campaign by the wonderful Textile Rebel Autumn.
How you can support #PayUp?
There are many ways in which you can join the fight to demand that the above companies #PayUp. The quickest and easiest of these is to sign the official petition to add your name to the ever-growing list of people fighting for the rights of the many garment workers whose lives are currently facing devastation in the hands of fast fashion companies. The petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/unless-primark-anthropologie-c-a-payup-millions-of-garment-makers-will-go-hungry
You can also aid the fight by refusing to shop with the companies who refuse to #PayUp. Of course, in an ideal world, nobody would shop fast-fashion. It would be incredible to see a world where everyone shopped second-hand or from small, independent companies who source their clothes ethically and in a sustainable manner. However, here at Textile Rebellion we recognise that, for many people, shopping sustainably is simply not an option. From those who can’t use virtual second-hand sites such as Depop and eBay due to postal restrictions, to those who don’t have the time or money to dig through charity shops or shop with the often-pricier ‘eco-friendly’ companies, many people are left with fast-fashion as their only option for clothing and other essentials. For this reason, our focus is at company-level, demanding that the fast-fashion industry stops its exploitation of those in need and remodels its usually incredibly problematic business practices. Having said this, it would certainly aid the fight against the injustices of the fast fashion industry if those who have the choice used it to support more ethically and environmentally friendly fashion. By choosing to shop second-hand, or favouring small, independent and sustainable companies when buying new, you can remove your financial support from the fast-fashion world and, as a result, drive it to change.
Arcadia, Bestseller, C&A, Edinburgh Woolen Mill, Fashion Nova, Forever 21, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Li & Fung/Global Brands Group, Mothercare, Primark, Ross Stores, Sears, The Children’s Place, TJX, URBN, Walmart/Asda/George, YM Inc., we DEMAND you #PayUp!