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Tackling modern slavery in fashion

The latest edition of FashMash Pioneers focused on modern slavery in the fashion supply chain with Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey.

An estimated 40.3 million people are in modern slavery worldwide today, according to The Global Slavery Index. This topic is one of the most important in the fashion industry, only exacerbated by what COVID-19 has brought this past year. ⁣

Our latest Pioneer, Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey, who was central to ensuring the Modern Slavery Act was passed in the UK in 2015, took us right to the heart of this issue, sharing how racism, inequality and the environment are inherently interconnected. In conversation with Rachel Arthur, she explores how untenable exploitation is in the fashion supply chain, what role regulation must continue to play and how we can all participate in the change. ⁣

Watch the full interview back via YouTube above. In the meantime, here are some of our highlight quotes… ⁣

ON ACCOUNTABILITY ⁣

Everyone likes to think that [modern slavery] is happening somewhere else and not on their doorsteps. Ignorance is no defence in the law, so why should it be defence in business? Your supply chain is YOUR problem. You've created the business model that means you need to operate in that way. ⁣

ON THE IMPACT OF COVID⁣

All the reports show that COVID has made things a whole lot worse. In addition to the health factors, you have poverty, then exploitation, and the individual’s strategy out of that may mean putting their child into labour - everything is exacerbated. ⁣

ON CENTRING JUSTICE ⁣

We are all part of the system. The issue is, can we dare to open our eyes to that, see how each of us are implicated in that, and see how we can try and turn that system on its head, so you don’t have this oppression. ⁣

ON SYSTEMIC CHANGE ⁣

One of the reasons I do think it’s changing is because wider society is beginning to change its attitude and its level of tolerance for these kinds of behaviours in business, and that affects the price of shares, the way that investors are thinking and so forth… It’s not good enough now to say ‘do no harm’. You have to go further than that and say what is it that you’re contributing to society, to people. ⁣

All ticket proceeds from this event went to Anti-Slavery International, thank you for your donations.⁣

FashMash Pioneers is sponsored by Klaviyo.


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