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Have you ever considered the lives and working conditions of the women who make our clothes when shopping with your favourite brand?

Oxfam, with Monash University has conducted groundbreaking research, revealing the poor business practices of big Australian fashion brands that are part of a system of exploitation keeping the women who make our clothes trapped in poverty, no matter how hard they work.

Shopping for a Bargain is the first detailed investigation into the way leading fashion retailers operating in Australia and do business with their suppliers.

It shows how conventional purchasing practices such as aggressive price negotiation, inaccurate forecasting of orders, and short lead times keep wages low and force factories to cut corners, placing workers at risk.

Textile workers are working inside a garment factory in Savar. Bangladesh Photo: Fabeha Monir/Oxfam
Kakoli* is spending time with Sabina. 23 years old Kakoli* lives alone since she started working in the garment factory. She hardly can send money to her parents living in village. She cuts yarn with a target of cut 120 yarns in an hour. With a 8970 Taka salary she hardly can manage her basic needs. Dhaka, Bangladesh Photo: Fabeha Monir/Oxfam

The safety and livelihoods of the women who make our clothes should never be up for negotiation.

We’re calling on big fashion brands to make a public, credible commitment to ensuring the women who make our clothes are paid a living wage.

For those that have already taken this commendable step, we’re asking them make that promise a reality by:

  • Publicly committing to review their purchasing practices policies, and reporting on progress;
  • Acting urgently to ensure that labour costs are ‘ringfenced’ in negotiations with factories –that is, separately calculated to ensure the payment of living wages to workers;
  • Improving payment terms with factories, to avoid a repeat of the mass layoffs that occurred Covid-19 hit.

Together, we’re tackling poverty in the fashion industry

Stand with the women who make our clothes. Add your name to demand big brands pay a living wage.