How can I know if my clothes are made with slave labor

A student of Advertising, Ignasi Eiriz, has launched a ‘crowdfunding’ to develop the first sustainable fashion App

The collapse of the Rana Plana textile building in Bangladesh made us look at the label of our clothes and question the real meaning of terms like low cost or made in . The collapse in 2013 of this block of eight floors in which many of the garments that we have in the closet were made caused the death of 1134 people, about 2,500 wounded and shaken the pillars of the fashion industry. Almost five years later, initiatives to open our eyes continue to emerge.

Following the catastrophe, director Andrew Morgan presented True Cost in 2015, the documentary that showed the insides of fashion business and the precarious situation that sustains it, from the cotton fields to the fantasy aura that surrounds the world of luxury. In Spain, the Catalan Albert Sales developed a Guide to dress without slave labor where he questioned the working conditions of workers in the sector. “These pages are not a” white list “of stores where shopping with a clear conscience, are an analysis of the situation of labor rights in the global clothing industry,” the editor pointed out.

Ignasi Eiriz also read the book and is trying to finance through Verkami the first Spanish app of sustainable fashion, Ethical Time . “I made the decision that I did not want to encourage slave labor, I did an investigation and started to buy sustainable clothing and footwear,” explains this Catalan student of Publicity and Public Relations and the youngest of his family, which means that he has always had a pretty ethical wardrobe, inherited from his three brothers. For years he has been writing down his favorite stores on a Google map and, seeing his friends’ interest in the subject, decided to do something else. “I realized that many people did not agree with the labor exploitation and wanted to buy clothes that would assure them of decent work conditions, on the other hand, I saw that there were also many shops and brands that offered that type of clothing.”

Ethical Time aims to create a network of ethical consumers, through an application and a website, to connect people interested in fair trade with firms that produce under this philosophy. “What has surprised me most has been the number of initiatives that exist and the little cohesion that exists within the sector, taking into account that they are people with a common objective.” It strikes me that they are not able to agree to create a common front and that it is a real alternative “.

The project can also improve the image we have around this type of products.“We ask many people and the adjectives that come out most are” expensive “and” hippie. “We think they are clothes that people do at home and, because a lot of work has gone by, it gives us the feeling that it’s going to be expensive. A shirt will not cost 4 euros because that can not be viable, but from a margin you can find sustainable things, in fact, a brand is more expensive “.

“What has surprised me most has been the number of sustainable initiatives that exist and the little cohesion that exists within the sector, taking into account that they are people with a common goal”

The App will allow the user to choose between parameters of sustainability ranging from the choice of raw materials to natural dyes or social protection. “We have to be realistic and we can not demand the same from a totally sustainable brand from the beginning than from another that is not, what we always say and the main requirement that can not be removed is that of decent work”, explains Eiriz .A condition that many companies would not meet, even those that in recent years have launched lines of recycled and ecological fabrics. “A brand like Inditex will not be able to enter because the company has to make up 70% of the sustainable garments, they have created a sustainable line on the organic issue, but the business model is not, they just want to sell more and in large quantities “ At the moment, the project has already raised € 14,500 – the goal is € 20,000 with 16 days to close – and has the support of the Pompeu Fabra University, the Slow Fashion NestSpanish fashion directory or the Justice and Peace of Barcelona.

Ethical Time will be free both for users and for all brands that want to enter, provided they meet three requirements: decent work, local production (in the case of producing outside Spain must demonstrate through certificates that it is sustainable) and be a Spanish company or with a store in Spain.

Ignasi Eiriz is also aware that his project, which until now is sustained thanks to the non-profit association he founded with the same name, will not be able to live solely on volunteering. “Consumers will also offer to subscribe for 20 euros per year, and thus have discounts at stores or may participate in contests, etc. On the other hand, we ask the stores freely if they want to provide a discount or product, and we are always offered something, in this way we could pay some fixed workers. “ If the deadlines are met, the application will be launched in April 2018, to commemorate the Bangladesh catastrophe.

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