The Importance of Worker Empowerment in the Fashion Industry

As a small fish in the bigger fishpond that is the fashion industry, we can’t help but notice the lack of worker empowerment. Sure, some brands are incorporating feminist-driven slogans on t-shirts and hoodies but are they practicing what they preach? Designing t-shirts with the words ‘I am a Feminist’ or ‘100% Human’ is hugely empowering to the wearer but what about the person who made it?

The apparel industry is the largest employer of women but holds an unfortunate reputation for cases of worker mistreatment and exploitation. Since the Rana Plaza Disaster in 2014, bigger retailers have been acknowledging and improving their ethical standards and supply chains, but fast-fashion still poses a threat to both our planet and our communities.

Clothes have the power to change the world. Fashion is fun and inspiring, but it is also a catalyst for change and progression. A designer, consumer and a brand can have a powerful impact against fast-fashion by making more conscious choices, whether that is buying less and wearing more or supporting local businesses and entrepreneurships. These choices will fuel more inclusive and sustainable businesses, economies and societies.  

As a female-driven entrepreneurship, Glow is not only a knitwear brand. Each piece tells a story of the community of female workers working making a difference.

We believe that being socially responsible should be an innate part of the language of business, rather than a conscious choice. At Glow, we know all our makers and intentionally reach out to work with local women from traditionally ‘disadvantaged’ backgrounds. We work with women who have been marginalized due to socioeconomic status, mental or physical health problems, race or class issues and we work with ex-offenders. We pay them the London Living Wage per piece, providing them with an opportunity to gain a supplementary income whilst being part of a supportive community. By working with these women, we want to create an environment where we can break down stereotypes and stigma surrounding people from disadvantaged backgrounds, in the hope of giving them an opportunity to realise their value in society.

Glow’s founder, Comet Chukura, has always been ethically-conscious and volunteered at a women’s drop-in centre in London for two and a half years before starting the business. By believing that she could design a product that is both functional and fashionable with a mind to her workers, she dispelled her own stereotype of just a creative artist and instead she became an agent of advancement in the slow-fashion industry. All in all, we firmly believe that by choosing to support ethical brands, we can pave the way to a better future.

So, our #weekendwonder for you is: Is worker empowerment crucial to an equitable fashion industry?

We’d love to hear from you so please Tweet or DM us your thoughts! @GlowandSee