'The Label Doesn't Tell the Whole Story' Campaign Raises Awareness for Garment Worker Conditions
Two Canadian organizations have teamed up for an eight-week campaign that hopes to bring awareness to issues within the apparel industry.
The Canadian Fair Trade Network and ReThink Communications' "The Label Doesn't Tell the Whole Story" campaign runs through April 24 and showcases thought-provoking apparel labels to make people think about the plight of garment workers around the world.
"We're hoping that these images will make people think about the garments they are wearing and just where they have come from," The Canadian Fair Trade Network said in the campaign description on its website. "Teaming up with the advertising agency Rethink, the photographs feature clothing labels telling the tragic stories of factory workers from Bangladesh, Cambodia and Sierra Leone. Each label says that the product is 100 percent cotton—but adds that is not the whole story and follows on with a snapshot of just who could have made the item."
Each image in the campaign notes "It's time for change. Buying fair-trade ensures workers are being compensated fairly and not exposed to unsafe working conditions."
A 9-year-old named Behnly from Cambodia made this yellow cable jumper.
"He gets up at 5 a.m. every morning to make his way to the garment factory where he works. It will be dark when he arrives and dark when he leaves. He dresses lightly because the temperature in the room he works reaches 30 degrees [C, or 86 degrees F]. The dust in the room fills his nose and mouth. He will make less than a dollar for a day spent slowly suffocating. A mask would cost the company 10 cents. The label doesn’t tell the whole story."
Tejan, a 34-year-old father of two from Sierra Leone, created this red hoodie.
"The first few times he coughed up blood he hid it from his family. They couldn’t afford medical treatment and he couldn’t risk losing his long-time job at the cotton plantation. When he fell into a seizure one day, it could no longer be ignored. The diagnosis was pesticide poisoning. The lack of proper protective clothing has left him with leukemia at the age of 34. He has two daughters. One of them starts work at the factory next year. The label doesn’t tell the whole story."
A 12-year-old girl from Bangladesh named Joya made this jacket to support her family.
"Made in Bangladesh by Joya who left school at the age of 12 to help support her two brothers and newly widowed mother. Her father was killed when a fire ripped through the cotton factory where he worked. She now works in the building across the street from the burned down factory, a constant reminder of the risk she takes every day. This label doesn't tell the whole story."
April 24 is Fashion Revolution Day, as well as the second anniversary of the day when more than 1,000 garment workers were killed in the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Canadian Fair Trade Network encourages Twitter users to participate in the annual event where people from around the world turn their clothing inside out to display the label, take a selfie and ask #whomademyclothes via Twitter.