Women in Fashion
The fashion manufacturing industry provides jobs for nearly 75 million people, and 56 million out of that number are women. Ladies, this is more than the total population of Great Britain. And these figures, though significant, do not even cover the wide reaching scope of the fashion industry’s impact. Exact figures are difficult to determine as the lines between formal and informal economy are blurred in many developing nations reliant on the fashion industry for employment. Informal workers, such as sub-contracted homeworkers, are not recognized by the law and do not receive the benefits of social security and labor protection, falling beneath the radar of national statistics. This makes minimum wages difficult to enforce and prevents workers from demanding fair pay. Estimates suggest that less than 10% of the people who manufacture these goods are being paid a fair living wage. Meaning nearly 68 million people that create the world’s textiles, the clothes we wear, shoes we own, leather goods we use are not receiving the minimum livable income and basic standards of social resources.
Women in the garment industry have few alternatives. Gender discrimination prevents women from having socioeconomic mobility as they are often unable to switch to other industries with better working conditions and salaries. In developing countries, jobs in the fashion industry are one of the few socially accepted forms of labor for women. So, women find themselves trapped in situations that compromise their human rights and violate fair labor conditions. Women face sexual harassment, wage discrimination, dangerous working conditions, and inadequate terms for maternity leave and child care. They find themselves working demanding shifts (often 14-16 hours each day) in hazardous work environments. Threats can include exposure to chemicals, unstable structures prone to fire or collapse, and insufficient protection from machinery leading to health problems or injuries. Though this grueling industry is largely built on the work ethic of women for women's wardrobes, it is inhospitable to their basic human needs let alone long term development and growth.
More than likely we touch a product that is the direct result of this broken system daily. At Velé, we have a vision for products that end this system. When we hold our pieces in our hands, that vision is becoming a reality. The demands of fast fashion perpetuate the disenfranchisement of garment workers. At Velé, we are a part of breaking that cycle.
The quality products our artisans create are the direct result of the environment they work in. At the Velé manufacturers, we value our artisans' craftsmanship and fairly compensate them. We work to ensure that the Velé manufacturer is a place where our artisans can thrive. When you hold one of our products in your hands, you are joining a part of our ethical supply chain and the empowerment of the craftsmen and women that carry the message stamped in every piece: you are worthy and "You are wanted."