A woman is weaving between red fabrics in Plaza Callao in Madrid. At his feet, dummies lying on the floor. It is a human sculpture that represents the precariousness of the working conditions of the textile industry.
At the same time, the ‘Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid’ (MBFWM) takes place at the Feria de Madrid (IFEMA), 40 minutes by metro and 20 minutes by car. It started this Thursday and is its 66th edition. There, the main fashion brands, in 47 fashion shows, will present until Tuesday their new collections for the Fall-Winter 2017 season.
“We are holding the Madrid Fashion Week and we want to show the other side of this fashion. There are many cases of exploitation, slavery and even the use of children made clothing, “says Callao Juan Sabin, who belongs to the group Dignitex , a movement that aims to fight” for the dignity of jobs in the textile industry.
In addition to presenting the performance , activists hand out flyers to passers-by. They insist on showing “the hidden face of fashion”.
DIGNItex is made up for human rights and political organizations. In addition to Juan Sabín, who belongs to SAIn party, there is Lola Sánchez MEP from Podemos.
The MEP woman, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, said that a report – resolution 2016/2140 (INI) – had been approved by the European Parliament in April – urging the European Commission to “initiate a legislative process to end the slavery situation of almost 75 million people in the world of which the vast majority are women and children. “
“It’s the turn of the European Commission. It is them who must take the step to expedite this legislative process so that one day we see a law that is binding “and establish working conditions to avoid slavery in the textile industry.
Despite being happy about the move taken in April, she believes that “the European Union does not work as much for people as for big companies”. So, they “continue to defend the voluntary initiatives that were launched after the collapse of Rana Plaza (Bangladesh) with almost 1,200 deaths.”
Caldentey argues that “voluntary initiatives” are not going to solve this problem.
Despite having answered an e-mail, the answer is based on environmental protection but it does not affect the protection of workers’ rights or their conditions.
It points out that Inditex is a “toxic free” industry that is constantly looking for “improving its supply chain” .
“Our suppliers and their associated factories must comply with minimum requirements in the management of chemicals if they wish to work with us,” they say.
It also says that they apply “improvements at every stage” of their value chain to reduce their “energy consumption” because they care about Climate Change.
Juan Sabin himself makes a direct criticism of this company. “In the case of Inditex, there are many claims and investigations open all over the world. In Brazil, there have been convictions in court for having enslaved workers . It is a common knowledge in the world of the fashion industry because they are those who mark the path. From H & M, Mango, El Corte Ingles to Benetton, they have relocated their production to countries where legislation is very flexible and the ones who end up paying for it are children slaves and exploited women and men . “
“Are you sure this fall / winter season you need to wear brands? Do not let your garments and your rights end up in the trash. “