This past November, Aftenposten, the largest newspaper in Norway, produced a five-part online reality series in which three 17-year-old fashion bloggers were sent to Cambodia to live and work as textile workers in sweatshops for a month.
It’s a really interesting series, and there are English subtitles, so you can watch it here if you like.
When the bloggers first arrive, as shocked as they are by the conditions in which these people work and live, they sort of numb themselves to it by assuming the people here are just inured to it and it doesn’t bother them. In the first episode, when asked to describe the lives of the sweatshop workers, blogger Anniken Jørgensen describes it as “just OK — they have jobs!” Keep reading »
Oh, Odd Future. Tyler the Creator, et al, love causing trouble and controversy. Last night, their show in Boston was shut down by the cops — but that’s not all! Their New York “pop-up shop” is still going strong. And in typical uninformed incendiary Odd Future fashion, they’re referring to it as “the sweatshop.” Because you know, sweatshop jokes are super duper funny. Keep reading »
Around 300 workers fell sick at an H&M factory in Kompong Chhnang, Cambodia, last week, reportedly while making shirts for the Swedish retailer. Workers allegedly smelled something bad coming from the shirts, and began fainting. After the incident, the plant sent its 4,000 workers home to rest and closed for the remainder of the week. But that hasn’t stopped local authorities from blaming the incident on the “weak” workers, though fair labor advocates believe that it’s more likely the cause of poor ventilation, exposure to chemicals and exhaustion.
This isn’t the first sweatshop-related fainting incident. Labor organizations say there have been more than a thousand reported occurrences of fainting in the past year. Even when chemicals aren’t the root cause, long hours, exhaustion and malnutrition are often to blame. H&M says they are investigating the incident with help from the U.N. International Labor Organization, but had “not found any plausible causes so far.” [Reuters] Keep reading »