At Twill & Tee we are the first ones to admit we love a slogan tee!

With all the media coverage of International Women’s Day last week, I saw a massive amount of “feminist tees’ appearing across social media.  Slogans like “My Boyfriend is a Feminist” and “The Future is Female”.  But what’s the point of a great slogan when you bought the tee for $ 20?  

Dior's message resonated with fashion lovers around the globe when they sent the slogan - "We Should All Be Feminists" down the runway a few years ago.  But with $ 5 tees still alive and well has the real message has been conveniently overlooked?  

An estimated 70 million people are employed in the textile, clothing and footwear industry worldwide with 75% of these workers being women.  With these numbers rapidly growing, it’s no news that this is a trillion-dollar global industry with supply chains spread across mostly developing countries.  The bottom line though for me, is that this is an industry that employs mostly women in countries that struggle to provide even a living wage for workers.   

Many of the worlds garment workers also work in what as known as an informal economy and in 2004, it was estimated that the informal economy generated 35% of global GDP with this figure likely higher now.  These informal, mostly female workers are not recognised by the law and therefore do not have access to basic workers rights.  Often registered factories subcontract to informal businesses to meet demands.  How will these women be protected against discrimination, sexual harassment or receive fair maternity leave?  Aren’t these the real feminist issues?  

Ultimately brands respond to consumer demands and the most powerful tool which we as consumers have is the power of choosing where to spend our money.  Raising awareness for one issue is great but not when it’s at the expense of another.

 

 

References:

https://whatshemakes.oxfam.org.au/

https://cleanclothes.org/resources/publications/factsheets/general-factsheet-garment-industry-february-2015.pdf

March 12, 2019