How much do Indian fashion designers earn

Shopping: Reaching for fair fashion supports seamstresses in India

Styling with a heart

FairbiolousFair fashion - more than a frenzy of colors, patterns and cuts

The eye falls on the chic top. Before proceeding to the checkout, it is worth pausing for a minute. Because invisible blood sticks to many clothes. Manufacturing is about exploitation and pollution. But there are stylish and fair alternatives.

05.11.2013tw article: Download PDFPrintShareFeedback

FairbiolousOliver Mayer from Mainz is proud of his label's fairly produced T-shirts

It all starts with birch leaves in a saucepan. Oliver Mayer from Mainz cooks a brew from it with his best friend. The two friends put T-shirts in the yellowish liquid to dye them. "The result wasn't that bad either," says Mayer. "Only: after washing, the T-shirts were white again." But a first step had been taken. Today he has professionalized his business and customers can rely on the color quality. Oliver Mayer has been running the fair fashion label "Fairbiolous" since 2012.

Fair clothing is more expensive

His T-shirts are produced in Calcutta under fair working conditions. To do this, the small label from Mainz has to invest more money than most large corporations do: “Our basic costs for a T-shirt are in the double-digit range,” says Mayer, who is a journalist full-time, “if you buy a shirt from Bangladesh or If you want to order from China, you can do so without any problems for 1.50 euros each. "

These cheap items of clothing are made under questionable conditions, so they are out of the question for Fairbiolous. The fair wages and working conditions in their factory in Calcutta are guaranteed by Transfair. The association gets a picture on site and recognizes qualified sewing companies.

Newspaper article gave the impetus for the fair engagement

In a newspaper article, Oliver Mayer learned about the poor conditions for workers in developing countries. From then on he knew: “I have to change something and help”. But the fair trade business is tough: of the 800 T-shirts ordered in 2012, Mayer has by no means sold all of them. “It's just hard to build a brand in the fashion market. If I had known what was in store for me, I might have reconsidered it. "

Little is known about ecological clothing

If you ask people on the street where they buy their clothes, the names of big brands such as H&M, C&A, Kik usually come up. Very few people know whether they can buy fair trade or ecological clothes there or in which other shops - or that there is such a thing at all. Mayer knows the problem: "It's just difficult to get known, you have to go to trade fairs a lot, knock at retailers, get people's attention."

Seamstresses often only earn one euro a day

The problem with the clothes we usually wear: no matter how often we wash them, it does not make them ethically clean. The conventional production of cotton clothing alone uses enormous amounts of water. 15,000 liters of water are used to grow one kilo of cotton. But buying from textile discounters is not only ethically questionable from an ecological point of view. Because seamstresses in developing countries earn between 30 and 50 euros a month for their work. Many of these women only have one euro a day to live on. They can hardly make a living with it. People like Oliver Mayer have ecological and fair production in order to protect the environment and to help these seamstresses.

Fair wages make it possible to get out of prostitution

As one of the few fashion companies, the eco-fashion company "Hessnatur" achieved good results at Stiftung Warentest 2010. But other companies are founded that declare fairness to be a trend. Nathalie and Simon Schaller from Stuttgart also want to help. They recently launched their first collection with their fashion label “Glimpse”. They too have production in India and pay attention to fair wages.
Nathalie and Simon Schaller give the young women who sew for Glimpse even more: they guarantee them a life without suitors. The seamstresses at Glimpse all have a common past. They were forced into prostitution, mostly when they were between six and ten years old.

"Children locked in brothels"

"These are children who are locked up in brothels," says Nathalie Schaller in an interview with the evangelical media company in Stuttgart, "Children who are starved and drugged just to break their will." The seamstresses at Glimpse used to be partial raped up to 50 times a day.

Fight against exploitation with charity

Today fifteen women make the clothes for the Stuttgart label. They were released from forced prostitution by aid organizations and the police. At Glimpse they get enough money to live, an apprenticeship and a new perspective. Without this chance, many of them would end up in prostitution again. "For the first time, we are giving them appreciation as a person," says Simon Schaller. Love Sells is the motto of Glimpse and with this the Stuttgart company consciously oppose the usual advertising practice of Sex Sells. The Christians Nathalie and Simon Schaller show their seamstresses love. Charity.

Fair work has its price

But this love has its price. A shirt at Glimpse costs 109 euros, while at H&M it costs 14.95 euros. So we have to have a lot of money in order not to exploit people. “Unfortunately,” sighs Fairbiolous managing director Mayer, “but we cannot and do not want to compete with the cheap brands.” According to Mayer, a hat for 5 euros is definitely made under questionable conditions. "You can't pay your workers sensibly there."

How do you recognize fair clothing?

Another problem for customers is that fair does not always mean fair. There are different sustainability standards in the clothing industry, but none of these certificates cover all the necessary aspects. In order to be sure that the clothes are produced in a socially acceptable and ecological way, a fashion label must have a mix of several certificates. A practice that is not always transparent for the customer.
The fair fashion network Getchanged has listed the most important sustainability standards.

If this is too complicated or too expensive for you, you don't necessarily have to wear new ecological clothing. Because whoever buys second hand, for example, is also doing something for the environment. The Hamburg label “Redesign” has specialized in recycled fashion. The designers get their fabrics from recycling centers or flea markets. Curtains, tablecloths and bed linen are turned into trousers, shirts and dresses.

The fight for the lowest price leads to losses for humans and animals

In the struggle for the lowest price, both humans and animals lose their lives. For example, 3000 caterpillars are killed for one kilo of silk. Silk is obtained from the cocoon of the silkworm. The caterpillar is killed in a boiling water bath because otherwise, as a developed butterfly, it would bite the cocoon when it hatches.

Creativity helps

The Indian fashion designer Chandra Prakash Jha tries to produce silk using a gentle process. He gives the caterpillar a loophole and waits until it leaves the cocoon as a butterfly. The three Cs in Prakash's Hagen label Cocccon stand for creativity can care. And the graduate of the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi wants to help.

Sustainable silk growers don't have to earn less

He breeds his silkworms in the Indian state of Jharkhand and explains to the farmers how much money they can charge for their silk. Many of the growers do not know the value of the raw material, so Prakash. Cocccon therefore involves village communities in the production of silk. In this way, Indian breeders learn how to earn enough on the one hand and how to produce silk organically on the other.

The main thing is cheap

Unfortunately, not all people involved in fashion production in India are as lucky as the silkworm breeders from Jharkhand. Oliver Mayer knows it when an outcry goes through Germany again because a factory in Bangladesh or India has collapsed or burned down. Then he hears sayings like: “We cannot answer for how it works.” Or: “Oh God, the working conditions are so bad there.” That takes two or three days, says the man from Mainz. And then it says again: "Where can I get my things from as cheaply as possible?"

Buyers determine the production conditions

Oliver Mayer no longer wonders that. He acted, caught his best buddy, experimented and founded his own fair fashion label. He, who as a budding editor doesn't have much budget at the moment, makes sure that seamstresses in India have enough money to live on.
But what do those who have a lot of money do? What are the big fashion houses doing? “They like to pose as if they were very active in that direction,” says Mayer, “with some kind of Conscious Collections or green fashion. But they often cannot really prove their commitment. Most of them are not certified. ”After a pause, he says,“ But the people who buy it. Still."