In New Zealand we’ve all felt the effects of Covid-19. It has been hard, and because you know how hard it has been, you can relate to other people around the world who are doing it tough, if not tougher.

The landscape of the fashion industry has changed dramatically over the course of the pandemic. Every single part, process and person within the trade has been affected.

EFG-18-9-2020-3.jpg
Pari has worked behind a sewing machine since she was 15, working 14 hours and six days a week. She is constantly concerned for her safety, always in pain and makes just enough money to get by.

Because of the change in landscape, we’ve also had to adapt, by creating a new Ethical Fashion Guide and report. It still has the same end goal in mind, just with a greater focus about what consumers and businesses can do better to look after vulnerable workers in the environment of Covid-19. Our hope is that when this report comes out, you will make a genuine effort to change your behaviours when it comes to shopping more ethically. It’s not easy, but I do encourage you to dig deeper, learn more, ask questions and help make a positive impact for vulnerable people who are doing it tough.

Here are five questions and answers to help you better understand the impact Covid-19 has had on the fashion industry. This will also give you a deeper look into why the guide has changed, what has changed in the guide and why Kiwis should care about ethical fashion.

1. How has Covid-19 affected the fashion industry?  


Within supply chains: 

• Factories have lost revenue due to government enforced lockdowns.  
• Workers have lost their jobs, been furloughed and suffered dramatic pay cuts.
• Physical distancing has limited production capacity. 
• Companies have cancelled orders due to reduced demand and financial pressure.
• Other workers have been forced to return to work, exposing them to the risk of contracting Covid-19.

For companies: 

• Suffered huge losses due to various production and trading limitations, such as product delays and government-enforced lockdowns.
• Under immense pressure both operationally, as many have had to issue redundancies, and financially, due to lockdowns and the change in consumer demand and behaviour.  

2. What are the Covid Fashion Commitments? 


The Covid Fashion commitments are six commitments that Tearfund and Baptist World Aid Australia are calling on companies to publicly make, to stand together with workers in their global supply chains and mitigate the risks to workers. 

These commitments are:

EFG-18-9-2020-2.jpg


After making a public statement, companies provided evidence as to how they’re upholding these commitments. This evidence was assessed for the Covid Fashion Report, to provide consumers with an insight into which companies have been supporting their workers through the challenges they are facing due to Covid-19. 

3. Why are the Ethical Fashion Report and Guide different this year?  


The regular Ethical Fashion Report research process is about assessing the systems in place across the entire supply chain. It assumes relative stability in that supply chain and a high degree of engagement from companies and/or public disclosure of ethical sourcing practices.  

These conditions of stability and capacity were not present in the crucial early stages of the pandemic, which overlapped with the research period for this report between March and July 2020.  

The Covid Fashion Report is therefore focused on identifying and recognising the immediate actions and initiatives that have been implemented by companies in response to the crisis, along with its impacts on the workers in their supply chains. 

EFG-18-9-2020-4.jpg
A clothing store.
 

4. What has changed?   


Rather than grading companies from A+ to F based on the criteria, this year we are focusing on the actions clothing companies have and haven’t taken to protect and support the most vulnerable workers in their supply chains and of consumers, and the choices we can make amidst the disruption of Covid-19. 

This year’s guide tells a story about us, as consumers, and the choices we can make, even amidst our own experience of the disruption of Covid-19. Instead of pages full of grades you’ll instead find tips and questions to help you take your next steps toward being more thoughtful and intentional when buying clothes. 
  


5. Why should the average New Zealander care about workers overseas when their own lives and finances have been disrupted in 2020? 


The unique part of all of this is that no one is exempt from the impact of Covid-19. Whether you live in New Zealand, or Bangladesh, we’re all feeling the fallout from the pandemic. We believe that this has gifted us with a unique understanding of what the other is facing, and therefore a renewed sense of comradery. We all need to stick together and help each other out, so we all come out the other side.  

We also need to be aware that many fellow humans overseas have not had access to many of the necessities that we take for granted; like money for food, water and housing, government support, healthcare, and the ability to take health precautions like physical distancing. Many garment workers are paid minimal wages, often not enough to allow them to save anything from their paycheck for future needs. Also, if they’re unable to work, most of the time they don’t get paid. So, when a lockdown is enforced this means going without any income for an extended period of time. Government support is extremely limited in many developing countries, so many workers have been left with nothing throughout the pandemic, leaving them to fight for survival.  

So yes, we’ve all been impacted by Covid-19 but we’ve been given an opportunity to extend understanding to our brothers and sisters across the globe, and be compassionate towards them. Once we realise we’re all in this together, and that some have much less than others, it’s not hard to care.

 

Be a part of our ethical fashion journey.

 

 

 

 

Find out more


Related posts

I regularly give to Tearfund, so what?

I regularly give to Tearfund, so what?

Friday, 22 October 2021 — Carl Adams

Tearfund’s ministry is about creating positive impacts in people’s lives but this would not be possible without the generous support of Kiwis.  Your donation is not just about how much money gets to where it is needed, but the level of positive change it creates.  I want to present impact through the lens of stewardship, and asking the question: “so what?”

 

Read more

Why periods are no longer a red light

Why periods are no longer a red light

Monday, 11 October 2021 — Compassion International

Today is International Day of the Girl Child where we recognise the rights and unique challenges girls face globally. One of the many challenges they face is period poverty. Millions of girls in developing countries experience shame, confusion and even stigma and discrimination when they get their period. The good news is in Compassion centres around the world, girls are finding education, protection, empowerment, safe bathrooms and period supplies.

 

Read more

Haiti earthquake: to weep and to hope

Haiti earthquake: to weep and to hope

Wednesday, 08 September 2021 — Compassion International

As Haiti faces another devastating earthquake, Willow Welter from Compassion says, while it is time to weep with Haitians now, there is hope to rejoice as she reflects on what has been achieved by supporters since the last big earthquake occurred in 2010, which killed more than 200,000 people. With support, these communities will once again rise from the rubble and be able to rejoice again.
 

Read more

Four years on, we will not forget the Rohingya people

Four years on, we will not forget the Rohingya people

Wednesday, 25 August 2021 — Andrew Robinson

Today, August 25, marks four years since extreme violence and human rights atrocities erupted against the Rohingya people, forcing thousands to flee from Myanmar to Bangladesh. The Rohingya Refugee Crisis continues to this day, with over 880,000 refugees still living in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. We remember the Rohingya people today, and invite you to pray with us as you read our reflections on this crisis in this blog.
 

Read more

Kids around the world: My favourite foods

Kids around the world: My favourite foods

Friday, 20 August 2021 — Compassion International

We thought we’d ask some children who attend Compassion child development centres what their favourite foods to eat were. Here’s what they had to share.
 

Read more

Kiwi working to prevent human trafficking

Kiwi working to prevent human trafficking

Friday, 13 August 2021 — Keith Ramsay

Sean Hatwell’s experience as a detective fighting organised crime in New Zealand, took him to the streets and red-light districts of Thailand, working with Tearfund’s partner to disrupt trafficking rings peddling misery for victims of human trafficking.
 

Read more

A year on from the Beirut explosion, the effects are still being felt

A year on from the Beirut explosion, the effects are still being felt

Wednesday, 04 August 2021 — Tearfund New Zealand

Today marks one year since the devastating explosion at Beirut’s port in Lebanon killed more than 180 people. As one of the largest non-nuclear explosions ever recorded, it left hundreds injured and hundreds of thousands of people homeless and unemployed. Your support enabled our local partner MERATH, a Christian NGO in Lebanon, to help thousands of vulnerable individuals and families. Here’s what we were able to do with your donation.
 

Read more

Show more