Industry News

Child Exploitation in Fashion: Why You Should Ask #WhoMadeMyClothes

The third week in April is Fashion Revolution Week, an initiative that encourages people to question the origins of their clothes and stand up against child exploitation. The sad reason behind this cause is unfortunately there are still brands that take advantage of unethical child labor laws (mainly) in Asia. Garments are made that come at a cost to people and the planet. All to keep their costs down and maximize profit.

But we’re proud to say we’re not one of those companies. Ever since we started in 2003, we’ve always stood by our strong ethical morals and created everything to order in-house by our team of experts. We have artisan seamstresses, print technicians, product developers, dressmakers, leather workers, and more, working a fair day for fair pay. Just experienced workers doing what they love.

As a customer, it is important to know exactly where your item has come from. It is your right to know, so use this week to ask #WhoMadeMyClothes, and let’s collectively put an end to child exploitation and unethical practices in the fashion industry.

The Price of Fast Fashion

Just like sacrificing nutrition when you buy fast food, fast fashion comes at a price too. Many large global brands have a convoluted supply chain, choosing suppliers in poor communities to keep costs down. Basing their manufacturing in Asia means they don’t have stringent human rights laws to abide by and can get away with paying peanuts. However, they’ve been ignorant of the conditions of the workers, from the farmers through to the factories, and turned a blind eye to the effects of child labor and unethical sourcing.

We love fashion, and we believe expressing individual style should be accessible to everybody, but it should be fair to everybody. When you buy a dress for five or ten dollars from a large retail chain, have you ever been curious as to why it’s so cheap? Making a profit is business, but at the expense of people’s livelihood is criminal.

In 2013, a clothing manufacturing building in Bangladesh that produced garments for big global brands, collapsed, killing 1,138 people and injuring a further 2,500. Most of the victims were young women. With rising material and labor costs in the western world, companies are exploiting poverty-stricken areas. That’s why a Fashion Revolution is paramount.

The Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013, image via rijans Flickr CC

#WhoMadeMyClothes

Wherever you go to buy clothes, you have the power to ask where it was made. If you knew that a 7-year-old child was forced to sew your t-shirt in an unhealthy environment for as little as a penny, would you feel comfortable wearing it? It’s time to change how fashion is made, sourced, and consumed. And it starts with us – the people wearing it.

If you ever asked us who made your clothes, we’d be able to point you to the exact person, tell you their name, and what their favorite lunch is. We all work closely together.

Contrado workers against child exploitation & unethical practices within fashion

How We Value People

Unlike at the clothing factories in poverty-stricken areas, everybody at Contrado has chosen to be here. They don’t have to sew to survive. We only employ adults under a proper, fair contract and pay everyone a fixed wage. Without our employees, what we do wouldn’t be possible, and this culture is evident throughout our business.

Seamstresses at Contrado

How We Value the Planet


We keep our supply chain clean, ethical, sustainable, and short. Because we do everything in-house and only source our fabrics from within the EU, we have a low carbon footprint and a better understanding of where everything comes from. Being on a first-name basis with our fabric suppliers ensures we can ask the questions that matter to us. Where has the fabric come from? Are there safe working conditions? Do people get a fair wage? The environment that we work in is also crucial, so we only use eco-friendly inks, have a solid recycling scheme, and manage our energy consumption efficiently. We’ve seen in countries where child exploitation is widespread that they’re working with harmful chemicals in an unhealthy environment. Nobody, let alone a child, should be expected to work in such conditions.

The eco-friendly inks we use to make your clothes

End Child Exploitation & Unethical Practices

Get involved in Fashion Revolution week to help see a fairer, more sustainable future for the fashion industry. It’s simple, just ask #WhoMadeMyClothes.

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