Big brands have stepped up sourcing in Europe over the last few years in a race to get the trendiest clothes to the continent’s consumers as quickly as possible. But the push for faster fashion has come at the expense of European manufacturers and their workers, according to a new report by the labor advocacy group Clean Clothes Campaign and Fair Trade Advocacy Office.
Major brands in both the luxury and mass market segments often pressure suppliers to lower prices, despite the effects of inflation, according to the report, which was based on interviews with suppliers, experts and union representatives in Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Germany. Manufacturers are regularly asked to make changes midway through production, but are also liable for any delays. Lead times are often unrealistic and payment timelines have ballooned.
Such trading practices are relatively common in the garment industry and contribute to low wages and labor abuses. The report’s authors are calling for tougher government regulation.
On Labor Rights, You Get What You Pay For
With purchasing practices that undercut the cost of production, big brands are short changing workers and undermining their own commitments to operate more responsibly, according to a new studies.