Blog: Leonie BarrieThe unacceptable face of fashion

Leonie Barrie | 25 September 2003

With the best of intentions, Gildan Activewear is taking around 40 institutional investors, bankers and stock analysts to Honduras next month on a series of factory visits. The trip is partly motivated by a desire to respond to recent criticism of the company’s labour practices in the country, and is intended to give participants a chance to see working conditions for themselves.

Just how objective a trip like this really is remains to be seen. In my experience, it’s impossible to walk through a sewing factory and get a true insight into what's going on behind the scenes. After all, you’re accompanied by company representatives who toe the corporate line, and are often working to a tight schedule which makes it impossible to deviate from the pre-planned route.

The factories that are only too pleased to open their doors to visitors are those which generally have nothing to hide. What you will never see – unless undercover – are the true conditions in which workers are employed. And the most unscrupulous plants are the ones that would never entertain visitors in the first place.

It’s a dilemma I face next month when I’m due to visit Sri Lanka. No doubt my itinerary will embrace state-of-the-art factories above all else, but I also have to be aware that discrimination and gross exploitation are rife – as they are even in the UK and Europe. But whether anyone will be willing to talk about it is another matter altogether.

BLOG

Digital pieces of the fashion supply chain take shape

The digital pieces of the fashion supply chain puzzle are starting to come together, according to executives at the recent Texprocess apparel technology trade show in Frankfurt, Germany....

BLOG

Latest supply chain leaders?

Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M, Zara brand owner Inditex, and sportswear giant Nike are not only among the world's leading brands, they also have some of the best supply chains too, according to a ...

BLOG

Finding a solution to the sustainability problem

The key message at this year's Copenhagen Fashion Summit was that the global apparel and textile industry needs to take a holistic view on how it tackles sustainability and responsible sourcing – with...

BLOG

Industry welcoming move to renegotiate NAFTA

The US textile industry has welcomed President Donald Trump's decision to renegotiate NAFTA, saying it is in America's national interest to modernise the trade agreement....

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?