Timed to coincide with today's opening of London Fashion Week, a new campaign is calling for British government action to stop fashion retailers exploiting overseas workers. 

Charity War on Want and celebrities including Jo Wood, the former wife of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, and pop star Little Boots are among those urging UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown help fight sweatshops by regulating the industry.

The are joined by designer Betty Jackson and actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Ashlee Jensen, who are hoping to gather a petition of 50,000 names to support the 'Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops' imitative.

Ruth Tanner, campaigns and policy director at War on Want, said: "We want exploitation-free fashion which makes us look good without feeling bad.

"This campaign gives people a chance to make a real difference to the lives of workers who produce our clothes. Now is the time for the government to take action."

Campaigners want the UK government to work with local partners to review a living wage in developing countries.

They also want increased funding for initiatives that promote responsible consumerism and awareness - and would like to see companies held legally accountable for human rights violations overseas committed in their name.

According to War on Want research, workers making clothes for Primark, Tesco and Asda factories in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka received on average only GBP19.16 (US$31.2) a month, under half a living wage.

Some employees were paid only the minimum wage, GBP13.97 a month, far less than the GBP44.82 needed to escape dire hardship.

The vast majority of employees live in small, crowded shacks, many of which lack plumbing and adequate washing facilities.

Though forced overtime is illegal in Bangladesh, the charity says workers are often made to toil extra hours without extra pay.

The fast fashion rush to produce the latest styles is seen as particularly detrimental to clothing workers as they struggle to meet unrealistic targets.

War on Want is encouraging people to support the campaign by adding their name at www.lovefashionhatesweatshops.org.uk