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Fast fashion and sweatshops

Fast fashion is a business model that uses cheap materials and cheap labour to create clothing collections at a rapid pace. Fast fashion mass-produces cheaply made, trendy clothing items that are sold at a lower price. It reflects the growing consumer craving (= strong desire) in developed countries for speed and value within retail.

However, fast, trendy and cheap clothing for consumers means that businesses must have low labour costs (= they must not spend a lot of money on paying workers). So, global companies have their clothing made in countries, such as Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistani.

There are approximately 40 million garment workers in the world today; many of whom do not have workers' rights or protections. They are some of the lowest paid workers in the world and roughly 80% of all garment workers are women.

Watch the video about garment workers in a sweatshop making clothes for 'Boohoo', a UK-based online fashion retailer, aimed at 16–30 year olds. The business was founded in 2006, and had sales in 2019 of £856.9 million.

  • In what country is the sweatshop located?

Watch the video again and take notes to answer the questions:

  1. How many people were employed at each of the factories?

  2. How much did workers say they were paid?

  3. What were some of the health and safety risks that workers faced?

  4. What Boohoo clothing item was filmed being made at the factory?

  5. How did the factories respond to the allegations of being sweatshops

  6. What action did Boohoo take?

  7. Started an investigation and suspended the factories

Enter your details to complete the exercise:


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