Dear Friends, We Need More Than Stylish Clothes, We Need a Fashion Designer Who Can Make Our World Better Now.

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When you wake up, are you ever aware how you usually finish your day? Perhaps you are ready to go to school to learn something new; perhaps you are enjoying your delicious meals. Perhaps you are going to go shopping or watch movies with your best friends. When you think what to do during your next few hours in life, remember that there is also a large group of children who are younger than your siblings or family friends, but they’re working overtime; up to 16 hours, seven days a week (Gentleman). In 2011, reporters even found out a case of Thai laborers that were imprisoned in El Monte, near Los Angeles. The Labor Department admitted that the workers earned $1.60 an hour. Also according to the Labor Department, more than half of the 22,000 garment contractors that exist in the United States, despite their policies that say otherwise, practice the abuse of human rights by paying their workers very little wage and forcing them to work in inhumane conditions (Ramishvili).

These children laborers are scattered across the globe. Every day, they don’t see any hope when they get up; they only see their heavy workload. Some of them might think that they still could have a better life through these inhuman jobs. But the truth is that a better future for them has never been farther away. When you are reading this, you might wonder which companies and people are abusing these child laborers. Surprisingly, many are your favorite brands, include Reebok, Nike, Victoria's Secret, Forever 21, Wal-Mart, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Guess, and Gap, to name a few (Ramishvili). We always feel excited about their quality and price when we go shopping. However, the reality is that the value we receive is paid by for by these child laborers’ childhoods. The price is absolutely unworthy. When I researched more about the fashion industry, I found that these poor child laborers aren’t the only one who pays a price, because we also are unintentionally involved with this hunger game.

"Of all the factories we have been to over the past few years, we have never before seen such large-scale pollution. The samples of wastewater taken on site have proven to be some of the most toxic testing results we have seen," said Yifang Li, toxicity campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia, reading from his team’s statistical analysis. Their report "Toxic Threads: Putting Pollution on Parade," details how facilities are exploiting complex wastewater systems to hide scrutiny of their manufacturing processes. The pollution is coming from textile manufacturing plants in China that are part of the supply chain for Levi's, GAP and Calvin Klein, among many others in the clothing industry. Water samples from the two largest communal wastewater treatment plants show that processed effluent contains toxic, cancer-causing chemicals, at least some of which are persistent and bio-accumulative. People that live there are so concerned about their health that they rely on the local government to deliver drinking water ("Push for World's Clothing Manufacturers to Clean Up Global Supply Chain.").

"Many international brands, such as Levi's, source their products from facilities within such Industrial Zones, yet identifying whether individual suppliers are responsible for releasing hazardous substances in their effluent is almost impossible. This provides a convenient smokescreen for unacceptable environmental practices at individual facilities, including the use and discharge of hazardous chemicals, by the global textile industry," says Li. As those who advocated for organic cotton and sustainably produced textiles for years know, hazardous chemicals remain on conventional textiles even after being sold at the retail level. Chemical residues enter water systems when textiles are washed. "Along with setting short term timelines to eliminate the worst hazardous chemicals, brands must require their suppliers to publicly disclose releases of these chemicals. Both are key steps to...
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