Is fashion immoral?
Can ethical fashion make a difference in the fight against poverty?
In textile consumption, we Germans are unrivalled: every year, Germans buy around 26 kg of textile products each. Cotton is by far the most important natural textile fibre, coming chiefly
from China, India, USA, Uzbekistan and West Africa. In fact, a garment of clothing can often travel back and forth across the globe, covering distances of several thousand kilometres, before reaching our wardrobes. Exploitation – human and environmental – is usually already
in motion in the cotton field, and continues its progress along each step of the 'finishing process', right up to the point of packaging. And at each of these steps, child labour exists. Indeed, the Environmental Justice Foundation estimates that cotton picking alone accounts for more than one million children across the world.
Child labour is a particularly abhorrent reality of the textile industry. Recent scandals involving suppliers to Heine, Esprit and GAP have forced companies to assume greater
responsibility for their entire textile production chain. Demanding a necessary level of transparency, consumers are placing more and more value on 'organic' and 'fair' products. But can clothes manufacture for the mass market take place in a clean and socially
acceptable manner? Who can we go to for assurances? Is there such a thing as 'ethical consumption'? What power do consumers actually have, and what kind of economic or political demands could we (or should we) be making?
These are the questions which our prestigious panel of experts will be discussing in the fashion city of Düsseldorf on 3rd December. As Germany's flag-bearer for the international campaign “Stop child labour! School is the best place to work”, we at Welthungerhilfe are
pleased to have secured the following fascinating panel members: Peter Ingwersen, designer and founder of Danish luxury label Noir; Dr Kirsten Brodde, textiles expert, formerly editor of the Greenpeace Magazine, author of Saubere Sachen and Dr Alisher Ilkhamov of the 'Cotton Campaign' against forced (child) labour in the Uzbek cotton industry. The discussion, moderated by Mirjam Gehrke (Deutsche Welle), will be opened by Bärbel Dieckmann, president of Welthungerhilfe. Conducted in both German and English, the event will be held at the Design Department, Düsseldorf's college for fashion and communication, where courses in the field of fashion and communication place an emphasis not only on providing its students with specialised expertise, but also on the development of social and ecological awareness.
Thursday, 3rd December 2009, 7pm – 8.30pm
At the Design Department Düsseldorf (Alte Fabrik Oberbilk) Mindener Straße 33a, metro station Oberbilker Markt / Warschauer Straße
We look forward to welcoming you to the event. Please let us know if you will be attending using the fax reply form overleaf or via email at: