Some of Australia’s most renowned and major fashion brands, such as Just Jeans, Lorna Jane, Myer and Peter Alexander, must be open to both, how and where they manufacture clothes from. This is to help lift the women who aid in creating stable brands that are out of poverty. Oxfam, a global charitable organisation that focuses on reducing world poverty, has declared the spread of awareness this Christmas season.
As Aussies from all around the country start their Christmas shopping the international development and human rights organisation has released the updated “Naughty or Nice list”. The list congratulates fashion brands that have made commitments around living wages and calls out on those particular brands that can indeed do better.
“It was particularly unfortunate that some brands had failed to make commitments to ensure the payment of a living wage during the pandemic – a time when the industry has grown yet many garment workers have lost their jobs,” said Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Lyn Morgain.
A ‘living wage’ is where one has earned enough money to cover basic essentials for a family including food, housing, fashion, healthcare, clothing, transport, education and having some money left over for unexpected events and occasions.
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant, which is why transparency around issues of power, whether business or politics, is so important”.– Ms Morgain, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive
Three of the nation’s most major fashion and clothing companies, Lorna Jane, Myer and The Just Group have failed to take the basic step of publishing key information about where they in-fact manufacture their clothes.
“It’s particularly disappointing to see brands that promote the wellbeing of women, such as Lorna Jane, failing to be transparent about the factories in which their clothes are made. This supports a culture of secrecy that is harmful to the wellbeing of all women, including those who make our clothes, and entrenches the massive power disparity between brands and garment workers.”– Ms Morgain, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive
While those three renowned companies have found themselves on the “Naughty list”, others have taken more positive steps towards backing up their commitment to a living wage. Those fashion and retail stores that are on the “Nice list” this year are Best & Less, Big W, Bonds, City Chic, Cotton On, Country Road, Dangerfield, David Jones, Forever New, Gorman, H&M, Kmart, Rivers, Katies and Target.
Oxfam’s recent report, ‘Shopping for a Bargain‘, shared that poor business practices, including aggressive price negotiation, inaccurate forecasting of customer orders, short lead times and last minute changes to orders are having a significant impact on the lives of workers.
“To help combat this, last year we asked fashion brands to commit to separating out labour costs to ensure there was clarity between factories and brands about the expectations of payment to garment workers. It’s been so heartening to see so many brands step up to the plate,” – Ms Morgain, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive
Although some other fashion brands, such as Jeans West and Zara, have made some progress, but still have work to do in regards to catching up to the “Nice” brands on their living wage journey.
The focal point of this issue comes down to garment workers, mainly women in low income countries who make clothes. The women working in these circumstances are certainly not paid enough to build better future for themselves and their families, because of low wages that continue to keep them in poverty.
“It’s time for Australian brands to acknowledge and use the power they have to ensure these women are empowered to lift themselves out of poverty through the payment of a living wage… This Christmas, we want shoppers to demand better from the brands they love so that our celebrations don’t come at the expense of the women who make our clothes and their families.”– Ms Morgain, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive