How Fair is Fashion? Issues in Globalization


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Most fashion is designed in the world’s richest countries—and made in the world’s poorest. Who is really paying the price for trendy, low-cost clothing? Using the international fashion industry as a case study, this program helps students understand globalization, examining its causes and effects, pros and cons, and the role played by multinational corporations.

The video goes inside homes and factories in Bangladesh to compare the lives of textile workers employed in large-scale operations with those employed by a rural fair trade fashion initiative—and also considers the influence of concerned Western consumers in improving conditions for all

Video Segments

1. Globalization at Work Everyone wants a bargain. In textiles this means that someone in a developing country is paying the real costs of cut-price clothing.

2. Inside a Textile Factory Every day in Dhaka, about 4 million people go to work in textile factories. One such factory is geared up to produce 20,000 items per day on each of 5 floors of assembly areas. Lower labor costs mean textiles have come to dominate Bangladesh's economy.
3. Government Involvement The government of Bangladesh continues to focus on attracting orders and investments from multinational retailers. The government sides with factory owners rather than workers.
4. A Fair Wage? Textile workers are forced to do overtime up to 100 hours per week. Working long hours is the only way to survive on the low wages. New laws have been passed that increased minimum wage. Still, as long as consumers are not willing to pay more for textiles, most workers will continue to live in squalor.
5. Fair Conditions? 
The price of name brand clothing in the developed world is made possible by poverty and suffering in the Third World. One of the biggest problems is that workers lack proper contracts.
6. Positive Changes In some factories pressure from consumers and journalists appears to be playing a part in improving conditions for textile workers. In Bangladesh, the government has passed laws that set minimum standards.
7. False Front for Inspectors Workers are prompted to lie to inspectors. Underage factory workers are told to stop working and to hide when inspectors arrive. Factory owners claim that meeting compliance standards is pushing them to the brink.
8. Multinational Companies: Key to Improvement Multinational companies provide textile orders to factories that will use their own resources to produce the orders. Multinational companies must take responsibility for the betterment of the total workforce in the textile industry.
9. Fair Trade Fair trade practices mean forming long-term relationships with suppliers rather than shopping around for cheaper labor. Investing in people, rather than machinery, is a key idea of fair trade.
10. Fair Trade Factory Swallows, a fair trade factory, gives 250 women employment. Compared to their urban counterparts, they work fewer hours and get better pay. Factory profits pay for a nursery and primary school.
11. Skilled Workers When a new collection is introduced in a fair trade facility, production managers meet with pattern cutters and other skilled workers. The idea is to make the best use of workers' skills from the very beginning.
12. Credits: How Fair Is Fashion? Issues in Globalization Credits: How Fair Is Fashion? Issues in Globalization



Grade: 9-12

How Fair is Fashion? Issues in Globalization (DVD)
© 2011
Time: 26 Minutes

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