Child Labour and the Fashion Action Ask

Published on 23 April 2020

IDS Research Fellow and CLARISSA programme director Danny Burns took part in an online Extinction Rebellion Fashion Action team’s panel discussion: What does the fashion industry need in this time of crisis? A Reboot or a Transition?

The discussion, which attracted an audience of over 20, 000 people,  focussed upon the effects that supply and demand has had in slowing down manufacturing and production due to Covid-19 and what effect this is having on people up and down global supply chains.

Since its conception, the CLARISSA programme has sought to address these challenges by engaging in action-led research that reflects real world realities, not just academic debates. It has been calling for transparency in supply chains and working with local partners to develop interventions for counteracting the worst forms of child labour.

As major retail outlets cancel orders due to global Covid-19 lockdowns, the production of low-cost fashion has come to a standstill in many parts of the world, leaving many garment workers in the global south without pay or work. Understanding the impact of these drastic shifts in working conditions is crucial to preventing further humanitarian crises and protecting those who rely on these industries for survival.

In the discussion, which was live streamed by Extinction Rebellion on 22 April 2020, participants considered whether the fashion industry should be rebooted and bailed out, or if a transition of jobs and practices is needed. What should be done to protect the most vulnerable and propose the best course of action to ensure the wellbeing of all of humanity.

In addition to Danny Burns, other panellists include Clare Farrell, Extinction Rebellion co-founder and XR Fashion Action team; Faith Robinson,  Fashion Consultant, and Elliot Atkinson, Designer, co-founder at BITE and design and sustainability lecturer. The discussion will be moderated by Bel Jacobs, XR Fashion Action.

CLARISSA (Child Labour Action Research Innovations in Southern and South Eastern Asia) is a child-led and action-oriented programme which is being funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and delivered by an IDS led consortium including Terre des hommes, Child Hope, Consortium for Street Children and Ethical Trading Initiative.

You can track the programme on Twitter #ChildLabourAction




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