chapter  15
5 Pages

Apparel industry

WithAlex Newton

Chapter 15 gives an overview of some of the human rights challenges facing the apparel industry. At different stages of the supply chain, adverse impacts on human rights are widely reported. This is particularly the case in the more labour-intensive parts of the supply chain, such as the cotton-picking industry in Uzbekistan, in the spinning and weaving stages of the chain, and among factory, home-based, and pieceworkers of textiles. Chapter 15 analyses some of the underlying reasons for these abuses, including the “fast fashion” movement and the labour-intensive nature of the apparel industry. It also examines the disproportionate effects of these abuses on women. More than 80 per cent of workers in the apparel industry in Asia are young women, largely from poor, rural backgrounds. Women are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, as they are exposed to high levels of abuse and are often paid significantly less than their male counterparts. Chapter 15 discusses the 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy and global clothing retailers’ responses to it, as well as other innovative initiatives to limit the industry’s adverse impacts on people and the environment.